Management scorecard still in the red

Just two agencies made progress during the second quarter of fiscal 2003 in any of the five areas included in the president's management agenda.

For improving workforce planning and management, the Commerce and Education departments both moved from red to yellow on the traffic light-style grading system devised by the Bush administration to gauge agencies' efforts to make government more effective and efficient. Under the management agenda, agencies are periodically graded on their efforts to improve human capital, competitive sourcing, electronic government, financial management and integrating performance measures into the budget process.

"Shortly after President Bush issued his plan for management reform, it was clear that achieving success at Commerce rested on obtaining the active involvement of our senior management team as early as possible," Deputy Commerce Secretary Samuel Bodman said last September, when outlining the department's strategy for fulfilling the president's management agenda. "Although a strong framework of career employees with responsibility for overseeing administrative functions was already in place, we knew that the sea change called for under the president's management agenda could be brought about only by political appointees and careerists working together collaboratively."

To get the improved score, officials at Commerce compiled the agency's first workforce assessment and then developed a workforce restructuring plan. Commerce also sought help from the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Personnel Management and experts from the National Academy of Public Administration in crafting its restructuring plan.

In the two years since OMB began grading agencies, a handful of agencies have made the leap from red to yellow in some areas, but the majority of agencies remained in the red during this most recent grading period, including OMB itself, which scored red marks in each area. None of the 25 agencies has been able to achieve a yellow or green ranking in the competitive sourcing area during the past year and the National Science Foundation remains the only agency to get to green, with passing marks in the areas of e-government and financial management.

Last week, OMB Director Mitch Daniels, who led the administration's charge to implement the management agenda, announced he would resign by June 5. OMB observers say that Clay Johnson, the nominee for OMB deputy director for management will likely step up efforts to bring about progress in the president's management agenda if he is confirmed by the Senate.

Click here for all the OMB management scorecards.

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