New rules aim to centralize government sales

Federal Register notice

The government is selling its assets on the Internet, but it’s now backing the sales avenue with regulations.

The General Services Administration is adding provisions to the Federal Management Regulation to get better visibility for its personal property sales by bringing all of the sales to designated sales centers. Under the amended rules, only an agency designated as a sales center can sell federal property. The centers are expected to manage sales online with value-added services, according to a notice in the Federal Register today.

The regulations work in tandem with the Federal Asset Sales e-government initiative. The government has already launched the Web site GovSales.gov as means of centralizing sales.

In the past, agencies have used various methods to sell their assets. They spread their sales information across 163 federal Web sites, according to the Office of Management and Budget. However, that decentralization was confusing and inefficient.

Meanwhile, online transactions accounted for $115 million in federal surplus asset sales in 2006, according to OMB.

Forming sales centers is the third phase of installing the e-government initiative. The initial phases include USA.gov’s Government Sales and Auctions Web page and the launch of GovSales.

OMB wants to maximize economies of scale to increase returns on assets and take advantage of market-driven best practices. That agency also wants to make buying and selling easier, according to its Web site.

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