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Posted 4/2/2013

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By Jon Fleshman

The vintage Army camouflage pickups are examples of how Dave Hawley is saving tax payers money by reusing excess government property at the Olmsted Locks and Dam construction site in Southern Illinois.

“DOD (Department of Defense) paid less than $16,000 apiece for these rugged ton-and-a-quarter trucks in 1986,” Hawley said, “and today their replacement cost would be more than $27,500 each. There are currently 10 of this type of truck in use at the Olmsted site.”

The retired Army logistician is Olmsted’s resident government property administrator, and he acquired the six-cylinder-diesel four-wheel-drive heavy duty Chevys through the Government Services Administration program known as “GSAXcess.” He said the cost to the project is transportation to the site from wherever the item is located at the time of acquisition, and then minor maintenance to ensure the item is safe to operate. The pickups have been used at Olmsted for two years and Hawley said after they’re no longer needed they may yet find service at another project or government site.

“A multi-year, complex project like Olmsted employs a tremendous amount of equipment and material and we don’t leave any stones unturned when it comes to aggressively going after savings,” said David Dale, chief of the Olmsted Division, Louisville District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “Whenever he can without compromising safety, quality or productivity, our property administrator provides the contractor used rather than new items.”

DOD equipment for reutilization comes to GSAXcess by way of the Defense Reutilization Marketing Service after organizations internal to DOD have had 30 days to request items for their use. Hawley said once property and materials are considered surplus to DOD they are moved to GSAXcess for reutilization by any federal agency.

Of the approximately 350 tracked, wheeled or transportation-related items Hawley oversees, 56 were acquired from GSAXcess and include barges, work boats, buses, track-mounted cranes, semi-trailers, trailer-mounted pumps, a towboat, base support vans and an emergency services vehicle now used as an electricians work truck. Hawley said one of the barges drawn from the GSAXcess program originally came from the Navy and later used to transport rocket cells by NASA, one of the work crew boats came from the Department of the Interior and the guard shack at the entrance to the construction site came from the Department of Homeland Security. Excess property transferred from other Corps of Engineers’ sites includes another towboat, a bulldozer and barges.

“If all these items had been bought new today they would have cost us more than $31 million,” Hawley calculated. “Even when you subtract the original government acquisition cost and what it cost us to transport it and fix it up, the government has saved almost $15 million compared to the replacement cost.”

Hawley added that the section on property management in the Title 41 Code of Federal Regulations plus the Corps’ own supply management guidelines direct the reutilization of equipment as a source of supply.

He said when he thinks it’s necessary, he’ll send someone or ask a colleague from the closest Corps district to go and inspect a potential acquisition.

“Right now I have my eye on some 100-kilowatt skid-mounted diesel generators,” Hawley said. “I’d like to pick up 10. They’re out in California and it would cost about one K ($1,000) apiece to ship them back here four on a truck.”

Worth his while?

“To buy a new 100 KW generator today could cost $68,000.”

Hear resident government property administrator Dave Hawley talk about the dollars saved: http://youtu.be/X3GbtvL3Di4

Photographs and details of government surplus items can be found at http://gsaxcess.gov/.