GSA Watchdog reiterates its concerns about security in federal buildings

The Office of the Inspector General at the GSA has cited the safety and security of federal buildings as one of the challenges facing the agency’s top management, saying the agency’s Public Buildings Division faces “significant” challenges in both areas confronted.

“GSA’s management of building safety measures is critical to protecting GSA employees, contractors and building tenants from fire, safety and health risks. It is also critical to protect federal property from damage or loss. However, our recent audits have revealed that PBS continues to face significant challenges in meeting and managing its responsibilities to provide a safe work environment in federally owned and leased facilities,” according to the IG’s latest semi-annual report.

For example, it cited a report from early this year that said PBS had not set consistent expectations for federal law enforcement agencies in the space it owns or leases. The findings included detainees being transported through unsecured public areas; that seized drugs were stored in safes without proper ventilation; and fire and safety risks from the storage of ammunition, in part because PBS building managers did not even know where some of it was stored.

The latest report also said that while GSA plays an important role in providing secure federal facilities, “Recent audits have revealed problems with GSA’s monitoring and enforcement of its security protocols. The deficiencies identified in our reports on PBS’s lack of monitoring and oversight of key security requirements and protocols, combined with our previous reports on security at GSA facilities, demonstrate that physical security remains a challenge for GSA. ”

For example, an IG report released last year found that there were approximately 32,000 failed attempts to use access cards in 132 buildings over the past two years. This could be an indication of attempts at unauthorized access to federal facilities and secure areas – but states that the GSA is not actively using data. of card readers to identify and assess risks to federal employees and property.

GAO has also raised issues related to building safety and security in recent reports, as well as IG offices of some individual agencies occupying GSA-controlled space.

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