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Panoptic Enterprises' FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH

DATE: May 29, 2001

SUBJECT: Federal Management Regulation (FMR); Mail Management

SOURCE: Federal Register, May 29, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 103, page 29067

AGENCIES: Office of Governmentwide Policy, General Services Administration (GSA)

ACTION: Proposed Rule

SYNOPSIS: GSA is proposing to update, streamline, and clarify Federal Property Management Regulations (FPMR) Part 101-9, Federal Mail Management, and then move it to the Federal Management Regulation (FMR) as Part 102-192, Mail Management.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The FPMR is Chapter 101 of Title 41 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The FMR is Chapter 102 of Title 41 of the CFR. Both the FPMR and the FMR are available at http://policyworks.gov/org/main/mv/fmr/index.htm.

GSA is in the process of updating, reorganizing, streamlining, simplifying, and clarifying the contents of the FPMR, then transferring the contents to the Federal Management Regulations (FMR), which was established on July 21, 1999, as Chapter 102 of Title 41 of the CFR. When the transfer is complete, the FMR will contain a refined set of policies and regulatory requirements on managing property and administrative services. Non-regulatory materials (such as guidance, procedures, information and standards) will be available in separate documents, such as customer service guides, handbooks, brochures, Internet websites, and FMR bulletins.

The FMR is written in the "plain language" regulatory style. This style is directed at the reader and uses a question and answer format, active voice, shorter sentences, and pronouns such as "we", "you", and "I".

The conversion from the FPMR to the FMR will take some time, so it will occur incrementally as the regulations are rewritten. Because of this, both the FPMR and the FMR will exist concurrently, and readers will need to refer to both documents to obtain all the related material -- the same content will not appear in both regulations.

DATES: Submit comments by July 30, 2001.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be submitted to Michael E. Hopkins, Regulatory Secretariat (MVRS), Federal Acquisition Policy Division, General Services Administration, 1800 F Street, NW, Washington, DC 20405; e-mail: RIN.3090-AH13@gsa.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Henry Maury, Office of Transportation and Personal Property (MT), 202-208-7928; e-mail: henry.maury@gsa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION: Section 2 of the Federal Records Management Amendments of 1976 (Public Law 94-575), directs GSA to provide guidance and assistance to federal agencies on records management, including the processing of mail by federal agencies, and this was done with the implementation of FPMR Part 101-9. This proposed rule would rewrite and simplify FPMR Part 101-9 and move it to FMR as Part 102-192. All that would be left of FPMR Part 101-9 would be FPMR 101-9.000, Cross-Reference to the Federal Management Regulation (FMR) (41 CFR Chapter 102, Parts 102-1 through 102-220), which would state: "For federal mail management information previously contained in this part, see FMR Part 192 (41 CFR part 102-192)."

The following would be the contents of the new FMR Part 102-192:

Subpart A -- General Provisions
     102-192.5What does this part cover?
     102-192.10What authority governs this part?
     102-192.15How are "I", "you", "me", "we", and "us" used in this part?
     102-192.20How are "must" and "should" used in this part?
     102-192.25Does this part apply to me?
     102-192.30What types of mail does this part apply to?
     102-192.35What definitions apply to this part?
     102-192.40How do we request a deviation from these requirements, and who can approve it?
Subpart B -- Financial Accountability Requirement
     102-192.45Is there a particular way that agencies must account for mail expenses?
     102-192.50What is the purpose of this financial accountability requirement for mail?
Subpart C -- Measurement and Reporting Requirements
     102-192.55What aspects of mail must we measure for the entire agency?
     102-192.60What aspects of mail must we measure at the facility level?
     102-192.65What additional aspects of mail should we measure?
     102-192.70Which agencies must report mail data to GSA?
     102-192.75What must we report to GSA about our mail operations?
     102-192.80How often must we report to GSA about our mail operations?
     102-192.85When must we submit reports to GSA about mail?
     102-192.90What format should we use when reporting mail data to GSA?
     102-192.95To whom must we submit our reports about mail?
     102-192.100Why does GSA require these reports about mail?
Subpart D -- Agency Mail Manager Responsibilities
     102-192.105Which Federal agencies must designate an agency mail manager?
     102-192.110What is the appropriate managerial level for an agency mail manager?
     102-192.115What are my general responsibilities as an agency mail manager?
     102-192.120What are my financial responsibilities as agency mail manager?
     102-192.125Must we have an annual agency-wide mail management plan?
     102-192.130What should we include in our annual agency-wide mail management plan for mail?
     102-192.135What less costly alternatives to expedited mail and couriers should our agency-wide mail management plan address?
     102-192.140What security issues should our agency-wide mail management plan address?
Subpart E -- Facility Mail Manager Responsibilities
     102-192.145What are my general responsibilities as a facility mail manager?
     102-192.150Must I have a facility mail security plan?
     102-192.155What should I include in the facility mail security plan?
     102-192.160What should I include when contracting out all or part of the mail function?
Subpart F -- GSA Responsibilities and Services
     102-192.165What are GSA's responsibilities in mail management?
     102-192.170What types of support does GSA offer to Federal agency mail managers?
     102-192.175What types of support does GSA offer to Federal mail managers?

Besides rewriting and simplifying FPMR Part 101-9, the new FMR Part 102-192 would establish three new requirements:

  1. Since GSA's research shows that federal agencies use mail more efficiently and effectively when the financial resources and costs for mail are identified, managed, and reported at the user level, this proposed rule requires that, no later than October 1, 2002, all federal agencies have restructured their financial systems in this fashion (FMR Part 102-192, Subpart B). In the introductory material to this proposed rule, GSA states that it "urges agencies to include their Chief Financial Officers and Chief Information Officers in reviewing this proposed rule because of this new requirement."

  2. FPMR Part 101-9 requires federal agencies to collect and maintain data on mail volumes and postage expenditures. Proposed FMR Part 102-192, Subpart C) would require all agencies that spend more than $1 million per year on postage to collect data on postage expenditures and report data to GSA. As a step towards this requirement, this proposed rule would requires all such agencies to tell GSA what mail data they currently collect via a report due 30 days after it is published as a final rule (FMR 102-192.75(b)).

  3. FPMR Part 101-9 requires federal agencies to develop and maintain mail security plans, and it encourages federal agencies to submit narratives on their cost savings to GSA. This proposed rule requires all agencies that spend over $1 million per year on postage to prepare mail management plans and submit them annually to GSA (FMR 102-195.125 through FMR 102-192.140). These plans are intended to address traditional issues such as security, processing efficiencies, and use of available postage discounts. These plans are also intended to help agencies strengthen accountability for mail management and clarify the relationships between the effectiveness of their mail management programs and the accomplishment of their programmatic missions.

In the introductory material to this proposed rule, GSA requests hat commenters address the following questions when commenting on the proposed rule:

  1. "How would you express the relationships between the effectiveness of your mail management program and accomplishing your agency's programmatic mission? Please provide examples of any relevant performance measures currently used by your agency."

  2. "What are the best ways to make agency program and financial managers aware of these relationships?"

  3. "Are there other stakeholders within or outside of your agency who might care about these relationships?"

  4. "What is the best way to manage your mail so that mission program managers have incentives to use the most effective and least expensive communication methods, be they electronic or paper-based?"

  5. "This proposal requires that users with significant mail volumes pay the costs of mailing. How should agency mail billing systems be implemented in order to be cost effective?"

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Panoptic Enterprises at 703-451-5953 or by e-mail to Panoptic@FedGovContracts.com.

Copyright 2001 by Panoptic Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.

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