Mismanagement 'shocking,' says outgoing Senate panel chair

Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., Tuesday issued a comprehensive report detailing management problems in the federal government as a whole and at individual agencies, and implored the Bush administration to do something about the "shocking" situation.

Thompson presented the two-volume report, "Government at the Brink," to Office of Management and Budget Director Mitch Daniels at a press conference that marked the final day of his four-year tenure as chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.

The report contains "unusually strong statements because [management issues] have been under the radar in this town for too long," Thompson said.

As chairman of the Senate panel that oversees agency operations, Thompson has spent years identifying federal waste, fraud and abuse and has made accountability at agencies a priority. "The only thing we need to solve these problems is leadership," he said.

The burden is on Congress to use the appropriations process to reward high-performing agencies and punish poor performers, Thompson said. At the same time, executive branch leadership is critical, he said. "They're your problems now," Thompson said as he handed Daniels the report.

The report sharply criticized the Clinton administration for ignoring federal management issues, but Thompson told Daniels he has been encouraged by the Bush administration's work so far. "We haven't had any management at OMB before now. [The Bush administration] is putting the emphasis where it needs to be," he said.

Daniels urged legislators from both parties to actively support government management reforms, but lamented that politicians find it more rewarding to announce a new program than to fix an existing one.

Bush administration officials will take a fresh look at low-performing agencies and will attempt to better align the federal government's skills needs with its workforce, Daniels said. In February, Daniels issued a memo outlining reforms the Bush administration will make to meet its management goals, including reducing layers of management, cutting overpayments and improving the government acquisition process.

The report said the four most urgent problems facing the federal government are workforce management, financial management, information technology management and duplicative programs. Agencies face a "crisis of competence" in hiring, motivating and holding accountable its workforce, Thompson said. The government can't pass a financial audit, makes billions in overpayments annually and can't accurately account for its property or equipment, he said. In addition, Thompson argued, federal information technology advancements are hampered by mismanagement and computer security weaknesses. Finally, multiple agencies and programs try to solve the same problems in virtually all aspects of the federal government, the report concluded.

In addition, the report included a list of 10 mismanaged federal efforts, headed by the infrastructure project in Boston known as the "Big Dig." The other items on the list were:

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.