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Panoptic Enterprises' FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH

DATE: June 6, 2002

SUBJECT: Federal Management Regulation (FMR); Mail Management

SOURCE: Federal Register, June 6, 2002, Vol. 67, No. 109, page 38896

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

ACTION: Interim Rule

SYNOPSIS: GSA is updating, streamlining, and clarifying Federal Property Management Regulations (FPMR) Part 101-9, Federal Mail Management, then moving it to the Federal Management Regulation (FMR) as Part 102-192, Mail Management.

EDITOR'S NOTE: GSA published a proposed rule on May 29, 2001, to solicit opinions from the mail community on changes to the mail regulation (see the May 29, 2001, FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH "Federal Management Regulation (FMR); Mail Management). GSA is publishing this as an interim rule now, rather than as a final rule later, because the anthrax crisis has made the health and security of federal employees the primary concerns of GSA's mail communications policy program. In the introductory material to the interim rule, GSA states that it recognizes "the security and financial requirements in this rule will continue to evolve. Before formulation of the final rule, we [GSA] will solicit agencies for comment. We are allowing time for agencies to gain experience with this interim rule prior to obtaining input for the final rule." Therefore, GSA is not setting a deadline for comments on the interim rule at this time.

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.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This interim rule is effective June 6, 2002.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be submitted to Rodney Lantier, Regulatory Secretariat (MVP), Office of Governmentwide Policy, General Services Administration, 1800 F Street, NW, Washington, DC 20405. Address e-mail comments to: RIN.3090-AH13@gsa.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Henry Maury, Mail Communications Policy Division (MTM) or e-mail: RIN.3090-AH13@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.

On May 29, 2001, GSA published a proposed rule to rewrite and simplify FPMR Part 101-9, then move it to FMR as Part 102-192. GSA received comments from 22 respondents and, based on those comments, GSA is adopting the proposed rule as an interim rule with changes. The most noticeable change is the reorganization of FMR Part 192 to reduce the confusion over agency requirements by separating required actions from recommended actions.

Since the FMR is replacing the FPMR, this interim rule adds a cross-reference in the FPMR directing readers to the coverage in the FMR. All that remains of FPMR 101-9 is FPMR 101-9.000, Cross-Reference to the Federal Management Regulation (FMR) (41 CFR Chapter 102, Parts 102-1 through 102-220), which states, "For federal mail management information previously contained in this part, see FMR Part 192 (41 CFR Part 102-192)."

FMR Part 192 consists of the following sections:

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?
     102-192.40Where can I get more information about the classes of mail?
     102-192.45How do we request a deviation from these requirements, and who can approve it?
Subpart B - General Requirements
     102-192.50What must all agencies do to manage their mail effectively and efficiently?
     102-192.55What are the additional requirements for large agencies?
Subpart C - Reporting Requirements
     102-192.60What must we report to GSA about our mail operations?
     102-192.65When must we submit reports to GSA about our mail?
     102-192.70What format should we use when reporting mail data to GSA?
     102-192.75Where do we send our mail management reports and security plan verifications?
     102-192.80Why does GSA require these mail reports?
Subpart D - Security Provisions
     102-192.85Must I have a mail security plan?
     102-192.90What must I include in the mail security plan?
     102-192.95What else should I include in the mail security plan?
Subpart E - Recommended Actions
     102-192.100What financial system features does GSA recommend for finance systems to keep track of mail costs?
     102-192.105What performance goals and measures should we use?
     102-192.110What should your agency-wide mail management plan include?
     102-192.115What less costly alternatives to expedited mail and couriers should your agency-wide mail management plan address?
Subpart F - Agency Mail Manager Responsibilities
     102-192.120What is the appropriate managerial level for an agency mail manager?
     102-192.125What are my general responsibilities as an agency mail manager?
Subpart G - Facility Mail Manager Responsibilities
     102-192.130What are my general responsibilities as a facility mail manager?
     102-192.135What should I include when contracting out all or part of the mail function?
Subpart H - Program-Level Mail Responsibilities
     102-192.140Which program levels should have a mail manager?
     102-192.145What are the mail responsibilities at the program level?
Subpart I - GSA's Responsibilities and Services
     102-192.150What are GSA's responsibilities in mail management?
     102-192.155What types of support does GSA offer to Federal agency mail management programs?
     Appendix ALarge Agency Mailers
     Appendix BMail Center Security Plan

Essentially, FMR Part 192 establishes four requirements for all agencies and five additional requirements for agencies that mail over $1 million annually. These requirements are described in FMR 102-192.50 and FMR 102-192.55, respectively:

FMR 102-192.50, What must all agencies do to manage their mail effectively and efficiently?

All agencies are required to:

(a) Have written security plans for mail operations at the agency level and in any facility where one or more full time personnel processes mail.

(b) Ensure that mail costs are identified at the program level within the agency; each agency will have to determine the appropriate level for this requirement because the level at which it is cost-beneficial differs widely. Program level costs can be identified from tracking mailing expenses by program areas, cost estimates, financial reports, reconciled Postal Service records, and reconciled vendor data.

(c) Beginning October 1, 2003, all payments to the United States Postal Service must be made using commercial payment processes, not OMAS [EDITOR'S NOTE: FMR 102-192.35 says "Official Mail Accounting System (OMAS) is the Postal Service's government-unique system used to track postage used by most federal agencies. OMAS is used in conjunction with each agency's online payment and accounting system (OPAC) account at the Treasury." This requirement was not included in the proposed rule but, after discussing the situation with "federal financial experts, mail industry consultants, the Office of Management and Budget, and many federal mail managers," GSA decided to "direct the federal agencies that fall within its authority to stop using OMAS to account for postage and to pay for postage using commercial payment processes."]

(d) Have performance measures for mail operations at the agency level and in all subordinate locations that spend more than $250,000 per year on postage; it is up to each agency to select the actual performance measures used.

FMR 102-192.55, What are the additional requirements for large agencies?

All agencies that spend more than $1 million per year on postage are additionally required to develop and maintain an annual mail management and security plan. The plan must:

(a) State total amounts paid to all service providers;

(b) Verify that facility security plans have been reviewed at the agency level. A copy of at least one large facility plan must be attached;

(c) Identify performance measures in use at the agency level;

(d) Identify the agency mail manager; and

(e) Describe the agency's plans to improve the economy and efficiency of mail operations.

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

Copyright 2002 by Panoptic Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.

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