Federal Courthouses: Most Recommended New Construction Projects Do Not Qualify Under Improved Capital-Planning Process

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The AMP process, which the judiciary has applied to about 67 percent of its courthouses, represents progress by the judiciary in aligning its capital-planning process with leading capital-planning practices, but the document the judiciary uses to request courthouse construction projects from Congress lacks transparency and key information. For example, the AMP process better aligns with leading practices for identifying real property needs by establishing a comprehensive, nationwide 328-factor analysis of every courthouse, whereas the previous process only assessed courthouses when requested by a local judicial district. However, the ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. April 17, 2013.

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The AMP process, which the judiciary has applied to about 67 percent of its courthouses, represents progress by the judiciary in aligning its capital-planning process with leading capital-planning practices, but the document the judiciary uses to request courthouse construction projects from Congress lacks transparency and key information. For example, the AMP process better aligns with leading practices for identifying real property needs by establishing a comprehensive, nationwide 328-factor analysis of every courthouse, whereas the previous process only assessed courthouses when requested by a local judicial district. However, the AMP process does not fully align with several leading practices due to, for example, its lack of linkage to the judiciary's strategic plan. Two courthouse projects illustrate how the AMP process has changed the way the judiciary evaluates its need for new courthouses. Specifically, two projects listed on a previous 5-year plan (covering fiscal years 2012 through 2016) were re-evaluated under AMP--San Jose, California, and Greenbelt, Maryland. Both had ranked among the top 15 most urgent projects nationwide under the previous capital-planning process, and as such, the judiciary prioritized them for new construction in 2010. However, after the judiciary evaluated the San Jose and Greenbelt projects under the AMP process, their nationwide rankings fell to 117 and 139, respectively. Judiciary officials explained that this drop was largely because of the completion of additional AMP assessments, coupled with reduced space needs in both locations because of courtroom-sharing. Following the change in rankings, GSA and the judiciary determined that repair and alteration projects that reconfigure existing space in these two locations could alternatively address the judiciary's needs. The judiciary added that its decision saved taxpayers money. As a result, at the request of the judiciary, the Judicial Conference of the United States removed the two projects from the 5-year plan."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • April 17, 2013

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Federal Courthouses: Most Recommended New Construction Projects Do Not Qualify Under Improved Capital-Planning Process, text, April 17, 2013; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc295613/: accessed May 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.