An article yesterday about the General Services Administration's disposal of unclaimed property at the Washington Navy Yard incorrectly reported the number of pieces of furniture donated to states. There were 1,415. GSA officials also said that they reported incorrectly that the city received coats among 36 items.
The General Services Administration's effort to dispose of forgotten and unneeded government furniture stored in warehouses at the Washington Navy Yard has resulted in a windfall for the state of Maryland.
Under federal provisions allowing states to receive unneeded government property, the Maryland State Agency for Surplus Property has chosen 333 items--ranging from lockers and shelving to chairs and tables--for use by state agencies and nonprofit groups.
"It only amounts to a small portion of our annual needs for furnishings," said S.W. Maynard, director of the state's surplus property program, "but every piece helps if it is what someone needs."
The furniture Maryland chose was shipped to a Jessup warehouse where it would be distributed to "any state public agency or any nonprofit health or educational activity that needs it, for 5 percent of its original value," according to Maynard's office.
So far, 2,126 pieces of furniture that GSA says is worth $43,215.32 have been claimed by Maryland, four other states and the District of Columbia. All have come from the hallways in the four major warehouse buildings at the Navy Yard.
In the second stage of the cleanup, storage facilities GSA rented to other federal agencies will be reviewed and those agencies will be asked to turn over to GSA any surplus pieces of furniture or equipment. The effort, which likely will take the rest of the year, will cover more than 300 warehouse and office buildings with storage space in the National Capitol Region.
General Services administrator Gerald P. Carmen opened the clean-up effort in January after being informed that little had been done in the three years since Senate hearings explored the waste of federal property that was being stored instead of being put to use.
Since Carmen's visit, not only has property been made available to states, but some 2,126 pieces of furniture worth $245,024.17 have been sent to a refurbishing center at Franconia. Another 958 pieces of furniture and some equipment--collectively worth $45,000--were scrapped and sold to junk dealers for $52, GSA said. In the recyclying process federal agencies seeking furnishings choose rehabilitated pieces at a fraction of the value of new items.
The District's Bureau of Material Management acquired 36 items, including coat racks, coats, bookcases, shelving and movie screens. Virginia officials have not yet taken any of the surplus furnishings.