Property experts tackle accountability issue
January 17, 2013
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala.--A group of subject matter experts gathered here in an effort to solve a problem that's been plaguing the Army for many years-- accountability of government property in the hands of contractors.
According to David H. Groell, Property Branch chief, Army Contracting Command Operations Group here, the Government Furnished Property Continuous Process Improvement Integrated Process Team's goal is to develop a system "where ACC has standardized processes, checklists, procedures, and training. Through this process we will develop the best in class property administration system."
J.R. Richardson, director, ACC Operations Group, said ACC has a material weakness--a lack of internal controls--in GFP property administration.
"I hired two industrial property management specialists at ACC headquarters to lead the development of a comprehensive property management plan for ACC," Richardson explained.
"I also stood up a GFP Property Community of Practice. Members of the COP are part of the IPT meeting here to develop a charter, communication plan, stakeholder analysis and to do some process mapping. This Property COP is part of a bigger continuous process improvement initiative being established to put ACC on the path to extraordinary."
Groell said the government furnished and contractor acquired property accountability problem has been reported for several years. Groell said the team wants to get to the root of the problem and fix it.
"We're getting together with functional experts from across the community to hammer things out," he said. "Once we finish here, we are going to reach out to the entire ACC (property administration) community for their input."
According to Sherri Mattern, government contract property subject matter expert also in the ACC Operations Group, part of the problem is that property administrators have no standardized guidance to help them do their jobs.
"Right now we don't have the basics written down," Mattern said. "Property administrators want defined processes. Over the years, we have simply tried to fix the problem by applying band-aids. It's time to rip the band-aids off and start healing the wounds."
The IPT kicked off Jan. 7 and will wrap up the initial session Jan. 18. Participants include representatives from the Defense Acquisition University, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Procurement), the Mission and Installation Contracting Command, the Expeditionary Contracting Command and ACC.
The initial session was an intense, in-depth look at government property accountability processes, Groell said. The IPT's work, once it develops the processes, procedures, checklists, and training, will be an "instrumental baseline for adoption Army-wide." He estimates there are more than 6,100 contracts with the government furnished property clause 52.245-1 within ACC.
"This is a big problem," he said. "And it's about time that we did something about it. We have the support from the command staff, so now is the time."
Groell said the team will meet monthly, either virtually or face-to-face, until it completes its mission. He expects the team's first product out in the third quarter of fiscal year 2013.