Political appointees will soon get a primer on President Bush's plan to make the federal government more efficient from the chief executive himself. President Bush is scheduled to meet with appointees next Wednesday in Washington to discuss his management agenda, according to sources familiar with the event. The meeting will kick off a series of Office of Management and Budget-led workshops designed to familiarize political appointees with the President's five-point management agenda. OMB plans to hold day-long workshops with appointees on each of the administration's five management priorities, according to Angela Styles, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy at OMB. "We're taking the educational series to the agencies," she said after a symposium on competitive sourcing at the White House Conference Center last Thursday. OMB is organizing the series along with the Council for Excellence in Government, a Washington-based nonprofit group dedicated to improving government performance. Workshops are scheduled for late February and early March. The events are part of the Leadership Orientation Project, a management and ethics program for appointees funded by the 2000 Presidential Transition Act. Members of the Senior Executive Service will be able to learn more about the management agenda as well. OMB and the Office of Personnel Management will sponsor workshops for the SES on February 13 and 26 at the Academy for Educational Development in Washington, according to Joe Riddle, director of the SES learning center at OPM. These meetings are targeted at SES line managers with responsibility for the initiatives and at the officials who support them, such as chief financial officers, Riddle said. Attendees will hear from OPM Director Kay Coles James and administration officials who are leading the management initiatives, including Styles and Mark Everson, OMB controller. Both sets of workshops are intended to show officials how the agenda can help them achieve their mission, according to organizers. "The management agenda is not just a set of tools for the sake of management," said Patricia McGinnis, president and CEO of the Council. "The idea is if you use these tools and connect them to your mission, you can achieve more than you would otherwise." The administration also wants agencies to suggest new ways to accomplish the goals of the agenda, according to Styles. "I want new ideas on public-private competition coming out of the agencies," she said. "I want to give freedom to the agencies to tell me what the best way for them to run public-private competitions is." But OMB has also been clear that agencies must hold a certain number of public-private competitions. Under the White House's competitive sourcing plan, federal agencies are required to compete or outsource 5 percent of the jobs considered commercial in nature in fiscal 2002. The Defense Department initially rejected the plan, saying it would instead use divestiture and other techniques to find management efficiencies. But later, Defense agreed to the competition targets. According to Bobby Harnage, President of the American Federation of Government Employees, OMB forced Defense to comply with its plan, "[The Defense Department] wasn't going to comply," said Harnage. "Then they were taken to the White House, they were taken out to the woodshed, and now DoD is backing off." Brian Friel contributed to this article
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