Why We Performed This Audit
This audit was included in our Fiscal Year 2023 Audit Plan. We performed this audit in response to a hotline complaint regarding indoor air quality (IAQ) issues at the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) field office in Baker City, Oregon. Our objectives were to determine whether GSA’s Public Buildings Service (PBS) investigated the IAQ issues in a timely manner and enforced lease terms to prevent or resolve health, safety, and security incidents.
What We Found
In total, it took PBS 6 years to fully resolve the IAQ issues at the BLM field office in Baker City, Oregon. We also found that PBS did not provide effective oversight of long-standing building maintenance deficiencies, resulting in safety and security risks.
What We Recommend
We recommend that the PBS Regional Commissioner for the PBS Northwest/Arctic Region:
- Assess the actions taken in response to the IAQ issues at the BLM field office in Baker City, Oregon. Based on this assessment, the PBS Regional Commissioner should:
- Develop and implement a management control process that promptly responds to IAQ complaints; and
- Establish clear lines of communication between lease administration managers and Building Services and Safety Branch personnel to promptly address IAQ issues.
- Improve lease administration manager communication with tenants during the annual lease inspection to ensure that PBS is aware of all tenant staff concerns, particularly those related to safety and security issues, and that all issues are documented in the GSA 500, Lease Inspection Form.
- Ensure lease administration managers take proactive actions to resolve long-standing issues by issuing Deficiency Identified Letters in a timely manner and holding lessors accountable for noncompliance.
- Enforce the BLM field office lease terms requiring onsite or locally available maintenance personnel, and recover rent paid to the lessor equivalent to the period that the maintenance personnel were not provided since November 2019.
The PBS Regional Commissioner for the PBS Northwest/Arctic Region agreed with our recommendations. PBS’s written comments are included in their entirety in Appendix B