The General Services Administration needs to ensure that the buildings operate in maintains a certain level of security.
FREMONT, CA: Ever since the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, where 168 people and 15 children mostly in the child care center died, the General Services Administration has been responsible for maintaining security countermeasures in the building, they are operating in, especially the facilities that contain child care programs. According to an audit released on Jan 30 found that all 11 of the child care centers which were tested had substantial security vulnerability and did not meet the minimum safety standards.
The report also added that GSA has the authority and discretion to upgrade the GSA-monitored building that has child care centers to meet the minimum security standards. The officials also acknowledged the fact that there is nothing that legally prohibits GSA from implementing security countermeasures. The main reason behind the countermeasures not being implemented is that doing so would drain the accounts of the agency which they have availed to repair and alter its buildings.
When a facility security assessment is performed by the Department of Homeland Security for the buildings with child care centers, the recovered information is presented to the Facility Security Committee, which comprises of the representatives from the agencies using the building. Then the committee determines whether the countermeasures are implemented, and it has declined to do so due to insufficient funding.
GSA also has the authority to carry such improvements leaving out FSC approval, but that decision would mean that funding for the changes must come from already cash-strapped accounts. The officials are aware that there are no legal prohibitions on GSA using the Federal Buildings Fund, and a revolving fund is utilized to financially support the expenses of GSA’s real property management for implementing the security countermeasures. The officials say that large-scale implementations with the approval of FSSC will affect the long-term solvency of the FBF due to the inability to pass the cost of these measures to the tenant agencies via rental rates. The GSA administration has to allocate appropriate funding to make security improvements so that the amount does not exceed the prospects threshold.
IG has recommended that GSA should ensure that it maintains child care centers in locations that meet the minimum security standards, address the specific vulnerabilities at the centers, and carry out a comprehensive assessment to either identify security risks that can be looked over or move the centers to a more secure location.