Letter to the Editor

This is in response to an unnamed reader's letter that appeared on FCW's Web site Feb. 26, 2001, regarding the General Services Administration's new Internet auction site.

The launch of the GSA Auctions Web site completed a totally touchless property disposal system for federal agencies that use GSA for this purpose. Public demand for a single point of sale involving surplus GSA property largely spurred our movement toward e-government in this area.

By establishing this site — which we did using commercial auction software and commercial contractors — we relieved federal agencies of the need to support an infrastructure for the reuse and/or sale of property and its ultimate disposal. We estimate that we will recover our costs within two to three years.

All federal agencies have the authority to determine how they sell surplus federal property, but the sale may occur only after the agency has completed the GSA reutilization and donation process. GSA Auctions acts as both seller and marketplace. It also provides a full range of customer services that include (among other things) specialized marketing, design/loading of sale information, and contracting and administration services. By contrast, eBay serves only as an electronic marketplace.

GSA Auctions also ensures that the terms and conditions of government sales, which are far different from private-party sales or commercial sales processes, are in place to protect the government's interests. Fees are proportional to the services rendered and may be negotiated to meet an agency's specific needs.

Nowhere within the federal community is there an agency that has more publicly or openly evaluated its mission and streamlined its processes to make things "better, smarter, cheaper or not at all" than GSA. To that end, GSA Auctions is only part of a seamless disposal system, which helps provide a more responsive government.

Joseph Jeu
Assistant commissioner
Office of Transportation and Property Management
Federal Supply Service
General Services Administration

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