GSA holding online garage sales

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"Bold new bid"

The federal government is getting ready to clean house online. Through electronic

auctions, the General Services Administration hopes to unload used autos,

old office furniture and a host of other surplus items.

GSA has hired American Management Systems Inc. to set up an Internet

auction site — GSAAuctons.gov — where property held by the Federal Supply

Service can be sold to the public.

The site is expected to cut government costs by eliminating the need

to set up, advertise and conduct traditional physical auctions. And it should

increase government profits by opening auctions to a bigger audience, as

geographic location would no longer be a limiting factor, a spokeswoman

for AMS said.

The government sold $260 million worth of surplus property in 1999,

but by using the Internet, it could multiply that amount many times over,

AMS contends.

GSA and other government agencies recently have begun using online auctions

to buy goods and services. In those auctions, vendors compete for government

business by bidding their contract prices down. In the surplus auctions,

buyers will compete to buy government property by bidding the price up.

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