Bush reform plan rests on e-government, management cuts

While President Bush did not mention government reform in his inaugural speech, he articulated a broad series of initiatives to change the way government does business on the campaign trail. As the new President settles into the Oval Office, here's a look at some of the federal management reforms he promised during the campaign.

Bush eschewed the anti-government rhetoric used by some conservatives early in Campaign 2000, pledging to create "a limited government, respected for doing a few things and doing them well." The former Texas governor removed anti-government planks from the GOP platform at the Republican convention.

Bush spelled out his core proposals for government reform in a few speeches delivered early last summer. He called for a fundamental redesign of the way government delivers services, eliminating layers of middle management and using public-private partnerships to create a results-focused government. Bush also promised to make e-government a priority in his administration, proposing to establish a federal CIO with responsibility for coordinating information technology issues throughout government. Specific government reform initiatives proposed by Bush include:
  • Eliminate 40,000 middle management jobs over the next five years.
  • Open at least 90,000 jobs not identified as inherently governmental under the Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act to competition from the private sector.
  • Establish a federal "Sunset Review Board" to recommend eliminating programs deemed unnecessary or duplicative.
  • Move all significant government procurement to the Internet within three years.
  • Convert at least half of all federal service contracts to performance-based contracts.
  • Enforce the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) by recommending higher levels of funding for programs that work. Agency inspector generals will enforce the accuracy of GPRA reports and the Office of Management and Budget will factor the results into budget decisions.
  • Create a biennial federal budgeting process.
  • Conduct a complete review of military needs.

Designed under the guidance of former Indianapolis mayor and campaign advisor Stephen Goldsmith, Bush's proposals received high marks from good government experts for their attention to the issue of government structure. "If you don't talk about structure, you're going nowhere," said Brookings Institution scholar Paul Light in June.

But federal unions expressed concern over Bush's intention to eliminate 40,000 managerial positions. "I think it's very premature to set a number of managers that he's going to eliminate," said American Federation of Government Employees Bobby Harnage in December. "If [Bush] intends to make government smaller, I hope he'll rightsize it rather than downsize it."

Bush assembled a Cabinet team with considerable management experience in the private sector. New Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill ran Alcoa and International Paper, while OMB Director-designate Mitch Daniels has a background as a pharmaceutical executive. Bush also named Texas budget expert Albert Hawkins as his liaison to the Cabinet to assist on management issues. Widely rumored to be the head of a proposed White House office of "faith-based programs," Goldsmith has yet to receive a position in the Bush administration.

Shortly after his inauguration on Saturday, Bush issued an order requiring that all agencies' hiring decisions be reviewed by Bush administration officials before employees are hired.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.