Agencies receive lackluster grades on performance reports

Most agencies' fiscal 1999 performance reports fail to explain how well they are accomplishing their missions, according to a new round of grades released by Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn.

Agencies' reports were graded on how well they explained and delivered on their performance results, progress made in solving major management problems, and agency accomplishments. Each agency was graded on how many key goals relating to its mission it accomplished.

Of the 24 largest agencies, only four-the Departments of Transportation, Veterans Affairs, Education, and the Social Security Administration-received grades higher than a 'C'.

The Departments of Commerce, Energy, Justice, and State all flunked.

"These performance reports are supposed to inform Congress and the public about what agencies are doing and how well they are doing it. Most of them don't do that," said Thompson, chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. "Unfortunately, in many cases, agencies didn't have goals for things that we assumed were in their primary mission."

Thompson's commmittee found that agencies have particular difficulty preventing fraud and waste in the use of taxpayer dollars and in providing quality customer service to the public.

The performance reports mark the culmination of the first complete cycle of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), a 1993 law requiring agencies to write strategic plans and prepare annual performance plans and performance reports. Agencies submitted their first performance reports in March, assessing how well they met their goals in fiscal 1999.

Thompson's grades were based on reviews of agencies' fiscal 1999 performance reports by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, the General Accounting Office, the Congressional Research Service, Senate Governmental Affairs Committee staff, and agency inspectors general.

Agencies' 1999 performance reports were also graded in May by Mercatus Center scholars, but the focus of those grades was on how agencies delivered their information-readability and user-friendliness of the reports.

Governmental Affairs Committee's Grades of Agencies' 1999 Annual Performance Reports

Agency Grade
Transportation A
Veterans Affairs A
Education B
Interior C
Labor C
DoD C-
Treasury C-
Commerce F
Energy F
Justice F
State F
Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

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


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