Taking care of government property

Jeff Irvin

Jeff Irvin, acting head of the Business Services Section, wrote this column.

By far, the majority of property on the Fermilab site belongs to the U.S. government. Most of us are custodians of some type of government property, which we are responsible for overseeing and protecting from misuse, loss or theft. Government property in our care includes laptop and desktop computers, cell phones, printers, tools and furniture.

As part of Fermi Research Alliance’s contract with the Department of Energy to manage and operate Fermilab, the laboratory has very specific and stringent property management and security regulations to which we must adhere. This responsibility is one we take seriously. Not only does it demonstrate to DOE and the U.S. taxpayer that we are responsible stewards of tax dollars, it can save the laboratory money in the long run. Replacing equipment because it is obsolete or worn out from use is expected, but replacing equipment because of misuse, loss or theft is wasteful.

As is the case every year, the Fermilab Property Office will soon perform the required inventories of government property. While this may seem to some as a redundant inconvenience that takes us away from more important and pressing tasks, it is important to remember that these inventory results are part of DOE’s performance measures for the laboratory and must be completed accurately and on time. All custodians must be able to account for the location and condition of all assigned assets. Property Office guidelines must be followed when assets are transferred, disposed of, cannibalized, traded or exchanged, and the Property Office must be notified when any of these changes in status occur.

If you have questions or concerns about the possible improper use of government property, please talk to your supervisor. Reports of misuse, loss or theft of government property should be made to division or section offices and Fermilab Security.

We have a duty to maintain the trust of DOE and the public because they own the resources we use and protect. Fermilab has consistently shown responsibility in these areas, but only with your continued active efforts can we demonstrate excellence in the stewardship and use of government property.