OMB gets temporary management master

The Office of Management and Budget tapped a veteran public administrator to provide some temporary management help late last week. In a much-anticipated move, OMB named Robert J. O'Neill, president of the National Academy of Public Administration, to serve as counselor for management issues to Director Mitch Daniels. O'Neill will shoulder the duties typically performed by the deputy director for management, such as chairing governmentwide management councils and heading up OMB management initiatives. "Bob O'Neill will play a central role in the development and implementation of the management reforms that will make the federal government more citizen-centered, results-oriented and market-based," said Daniels. O'Neill accepted a transfer to OMB under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act, which allows for the temporary transfer of employees among agencies, universities and other eligible organizations, as well as state and local governments. He began work at OMB on Monday and could stay for up to 120 days, or until Sept. 7, according to the agency. O'Neill will remain NAPA president while he works at OMB, but academy Vice President David Garrison will manage the day-to-day operations of the organization. NAPA will pay O'Neill's salary during this period. O'Neill plans to harness the management insight of the 500-plus corps of NAPA fellows during his stint at OMB, according to the agency. "Mr. O'Neill will draw on the expertise of academy fellows and staff for innovative solutions to current challenges and to act as a sounding board for new ideas" an OMB release said. NAPA is a non-partisan organization that conducts research and consults on public administration issues for federal, state and local government agencies. OMB is soliciting O'Neill's help now to provide immediate assistance on the administration's management agenda. While the administration continues to search for a permanent deputy director for management, O'Neill would be eligible for the job under the terms of his Intergovernmental Personnel Act transfer. O'Neill honed his management skills as county executive for Fairfax, Va., from 1997 to 1999 and as city manager of Hampton, Va. from 1984 to 1997. An expert in performance-based management techniques, O'Neill was elected a NAPA Fellow in 1997. O'Neill is a friend of OMB Deputy Director Sean O'Keefe, who is also a NAPA fellow.
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