Bill advances to eliminate agency for surplus property

By ANDREA LANNOM

The Register-Herald

CHARLESTON, W.Va.  — A bill that would eliminate the state agency for surplus property advanced through a House committee.

The House Committee on Government Organization took up House Bill 2819 in its Wednesday meeting. Under the bill as amended, the Department of Administration would act as the state agency for surplus property and the state agency for surplus property would wind down and cease to exist by July 2018.

In its place, all state spending units would enter every fixed asset worth at least $1,000 into a system used by the federal government. When an asset reaches the end of its life, it would be removed from that system.

At this point, the agency could continue to use it, retire it, transfer it to another state agency or sell the asset.

State vehicles also would be put up for auction with a professional auction service selected by competitive bid.

Sales could be done by an employee, agency head or a through a public auction.

Delegate Gary Howell, R-Mineral, lead sponsor, said the legislation could save the state money and reduce duplication. He said Surplus Property was used to record property, which could instead be done through the Oasis system instead. He said the agency also wasn’t making enough money to support itself and couldn’t sell items for as much as a professional auction service.

He said in one situation, a person bought a generator from Surplus for $400 and sold it at a public auction for $15,000.

“There were some cases of people getting a state vehicle from Dunbar, taking it to South Charleston to a public auction and doubling their money,” Howell said.

He said employees of the division would be transferred to another agency.

The bill was referred to the House Committee on Finance.

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