Online auction plan gains momentum

FinanceNet, an electronic clearinghouse that provides information on government

property for sale, is one step closer to building an online entry point

and auction site for government property.

FinanceNet is working with industry consortium CommerceNet to create

a governmentwide data warehouse that will index surplus assets that agencies

are offering for sale. That index will feed into an online auction site

that will allow users to purchase products online.

Assets include everything from computers to houses. That surplus is

collected from sources such as drug bust property seizures, assets from

housing foreclosures and overstocked government inventories.

The index will provide an easy way for people to go online and search

for a specific product without spending a lot of time looking at each agency's

World Wide Web site, said Preston Rich, executive director of FinanceNet.

In fact, the government does not even have a clear picture of what surplus

property it has for sale, he said.

FinanceNet is working with the Office of Management and Budget to determine

what the next steps will be, Rich said. The group has already completed

a white paper, and will ask Booze-Allen & Hamilton to develop a business

plan. FinanceNet will soon kick off a proof-of-concept project with vendors

and agencies to test the online auction.

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