Survey Manual

408.2 - Personal Property - Accountability and Responsibility

his chapter prescribes policies, responsibilities, and procedures for the management of USGS personal property. This regulation emphasizes custodial accountability and responsibilities, and is applicable to all activities of USGS.


OPR: Admin/Facilities and Management Services

1. Purpose. This chapter prescribes policies, responsibilities, and procedures for the management of USGS personal property. This regulation emphasizes custodial accountability and responsibilities, and is applicable to all activities of USGS.

2. Authorities. Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended (40 U.S.C. 471, et seq.), the Federal Property Management Regulations (FPMR), and the Interior Property Management Regulations (IPMR).

3. Definitions.

A. Accountable Property. Personal property for which responsibility for control is formally assigned to an accountable individual and for which official property records are maintained. Accountable property includes capitalized, noncapitalized, leased and contractor-held Government property with an original acquisition cost of $50 or more. All sensitive and museum property is accountable, with no dollar threshold. The phrases "controlled property" and "accountable property" are used interchangeably in USGS.

B. Capitalized Property. Non-expendable property with an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more which is charged to an asset account (general ledger control account) in the Office of Financial Management. Property acquired through lease or loan is not capitalized. Museum property is not capitalized.

C. Museum Property. An assemblage of museum objects collected according to some rational scheme and maintained so they can be preserved, studied, or interpreted for public benefit. Museum objects include prehistoric and historic objects, artifacts, works of art, archival documents, and natural history specimens that are a part of museum collections.

D. Personal Property. Any property, except records of the Federal Government and real property.

E. Property Management. A property and financial management responsibility to establish and maintain property accounts and supporting document files that reflect property activity.

F. Proprietary Software. A program or software controlled by an owner through the legal right of possession and title. Commonly, the title remains with the owner and its use is allowed with the stipulation that no disclosure of the program or software can be made to any other party without prior agreement between the owner and the user. This applies to privately sold programs, program products offered for sale by vendors, and no-charge software provided by vendors.

G. Sensitive Property. Property of any value, including items under $50, which is considered accountable property by virtue of its high probability of misuse, or its susceptibility to pilferage, theft or misappropriation. The only items under $50 designated as sensitive, for accountability purposes within USGS, are firearms and proprietary software.

H. Other. The meaning of other terms related to property management, i.e., expendable and non-expendable property, loss/property loss, etc., are defined in IPMR 114-60.100.

4. Policy.

A. Accountability, control, and responsibility for all property owned or leased by the Government must be maintained from the time of receipt until disposal. Within the USGS accountability is established at the time funds are obligated, using the acquisition document.

B. All non-expendable property having an acquisition cost of $50 or more and all sensitive items regardless of cost are considered accountable property and detailed records are maintained therefor in the USGS property management database. The USGS has classified firearms and proprietary software as sensitive to be controlled as accountable property regardless of cost. Additionally, all items costing $5,000 or more are recorded in a general ledger account. APPENDIX A is a listing of the non-expendable property items commonly used by the USGS indicating the classification of each group by a Federal Supply Code (FSC). NOTE: Non-expendable property costing $50 or more will be processed as accountable even if not in any of the categories specifically listed in APPENDIX A unless a formal and written request has been made through the Property Administrator (PA) and approved by the Property Management Officer (PMO).

C. Accountability records shall be established and maintained for all Government-owned property which is in the custody of a contractor, grantee, or other non-Federal recipient in accordance with the terms of any legal instrument. This property shall be subject to the same inventory, reconciliation and management controls as any other accountable property held by the Bureau. The Accountable Property Officer (APO) for Government property in the custody of contractors, grantees, borrowers, concessionaires, and cooperators, shall be the Contracting Officer, Grant Officer, or other management official administering the contract, grant, loan, or legal instrument which authorizes the custody of Government property. The Custodial Property Officer (CPO) for such property shall be the Contracting Officer's Representative (COR).

D. The acquisition value of assets recorded in the property management system shall include the amounts paid to acquire them, including transportation, installation, and related costs of obtaining the assets in their current form and place.

E. Non-Government-owned personal property shall not be installed in, affixed to, or otherwise made a part of any Government-owned personal or real property (IPMR 114-60.201(d)(1)).

F. Employee-owned property may not be used in the performance of official duties, unless specific authority is granted by the head of the Bureau, or his/her designee (IPMR 114-60.201(d)(2).

G. The USGS is not responsible for the loss of employee-owned personal property brought into Government-controlled buildings.

H. Any employee having custody of Government-owned property may be held financially liable for loss of, or damage to, the property, when such loss of, or damage to, such property is as a result of negligence on the part of the employee, as determined by a Board of Survey.

I. Only permanent full-time or part-time employees shall be designated as Custodial Property Officers (CPO's). The Cognizant Employees/users may be other than permanent employees, at the discretion of the CPO.

5. Responsibilities.

A. The Assistant Director for Administration is responsible for the overall direction of the personal property management program.

B. The Chief, Office of Facilities and Management Services, is assigned responsibility for the formulation, development, and implementation of Bureau policies, procedures, and guidelines relating to all aspects of the acquisition, utilization, accountability, management, and disposition of personal property.

C. The Property Management Officer (PMO) is designated in writing by the Director, USGS, and is responsible for the overall administration and control of the Bureau personal property management program.

D. The Regional Management Officers (RMO's) are responsible for carrying out the policies and procedures of the property management program in their respective regions.

E. APPENDIX B outlines the formal system of personal property accountability for each division within the USGS:

(1) The Property Administrator (PA) is designated in writing by the Director and is responsible for the following within his/her designated organizational area:

(a) Overall administration, coordination and control of the property management program, and ensuring the required property accountability records are maintained and required reports are submitted;

(b) Implementation of policy and procedures, and providing guidance to subordinate or serviced organizational elements;

(c) Ensuring that all actions are taken to protect the integrity of the property management program, and that Government property is managed in a manner that provides optimum protection against fraud, waste, and abuse;

(d) Providing oversight of the property management program and disseminating information to subordinate or serviced organizational components; and

(e) Providing guidance to Accountable Property Officers (APO's) within his/her area of jurisdiction.

(2) The Accountable Property Officers (APO's) are designated in writing by the Property Administrator and are charged with the following responsibilities:

(a) Accountability and control of personal property within his/her designated area;

(b) Designation and appointment, in writing, of Custodial Property Officers, if necessary;

(c) Maintenance of property accountability records in his/her area of accountability;

(d) Inspections to ensure that property is being used effectively and safeguarded properly, and to ensure the proper and effective maintenance of property;

(e) Coordination of the utilization and disposal of excess personal property;

(f) Providing for the conduct of required physical inventories; written certification of the inventory results; and ensuring that adequate documentation is provided to resolve any discrepancies; and

(g) Providing guidance to Custodial Property Officers.

(3) The Custodial Property Officers (CPO's) are designated in writing by the APO's and are responsible for the management and oversight of personal property within their organizations. In addition, CPO's will ensure that:

(a) Cognizant Employees (CE's)/users are familiar with property management regulations, and acknowledge by signature their responsibilities for items being used by them; these signatures to be maintained locally by the CPO;

(b) All required documentation is prepared and processed to support entries in the property management system on all actions affecting the property including, but not limited to, acquisitions, transfers, and disposals;

(c) Property within their organizations is used for official purposes only; and

(d) All CE's perform an annual inventory, as well as an inventory prior to transfers within or separation from the USGS, and account for all items assigned to them.

(4) The Cognizant Employees (CE's) are employees who use Government property on a day-to-day basis. Each person using Government property must take reasonable and prudent precautions to protect the property. The CE's responsibilities include:

(a) The proper and reasonable care, use, safekeeping, and return of Government property;

(b) Using Government property safely, efficiently, and only for official use;

(c) Properly accounting for and inventorying at least annually all personal property for which he/she is accountable, and completing all required documentation for relief from accountability upon transfer within or separation from the USGS;

(d) Taking prompt action to identify and declare unneeded property as available or excess for possible reutilization, and to report obsolete, unserviceable, and unrepairable property for disposal in accordance with established procedures by preparing and providing to the CPO all required documentation in accordance with established procedures; and

(e) Accomplishing additional inventories as directed by the CPO.

F. Liability. The CE to whom the equipment is assigned by the CPO has the primary and ultimate responsibility for its protection and proper use, as well as for other responsibilities described in 408.2.5E(4), above, and will be held financially liable for missing and damaged items when negligence is a factor, as determined by a board of survey. In certain instances, the other levels in the accountability structure may be held liable for missing and damaged property when they are found negligent in exercising their management and oversight responsibilities.

6. Procedures. Detailed procedures for accountability and responsibility, including recordkeeping, transfer of accountability, relief of accountability, etc., are contained in the Property Management Handbook (408-2-H).