March 12, 2001The chair of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee pledged Friday to hold agencies accountable for results, saying accountability can cure the government's pervasive management problems. Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., said his committee will continue to conduct vigorous oversight of government's most serious management woes in the 107th Congress, including financial and information technology management, human capital and the overlap of legislation and regulation. "I consider it one of the key requirements of the Governmental Affairs Committee to draw attention to these problems--to lay down some markers as to where we are and where we need to be," Thompson said. Thompson spoke at a forum on trust in government sponsored by The Council for Excellence in Government, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of private sector leaders committed to improving government performance. Accountability in government is best achieved by tying agencies budgets to their performance objectives, he said, admitting that Congress shares responsibility with the Bush administration for putting "teeth" in government reform initiatives. The tools to repair management problems are already available, Thompson said, citing the 1996 Clinger-Cohen Act, the 1993 Government Performance and Results Act and other legislation. But, "the same core problems seem to exist year after year," he said. Thompson urged officials at the Office of Management and Budget to invigorate the management side of that agency and set specific performance goals, measures and timetables for agencies and departments to correct longtime problems. "Both OMB and Congress need to insist on reliable performance information…then hold the agencies and departments accountable where it counts--in their budgets," Thompson said.
March 12, 2001