Senator: Senior execs must identify poor-performing programs
Speaking at a Government Executive leadership briefing in Washington, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., one of the key backers of last year's congressional push to overhaul the 1993 Government Performance and Results Act, said a core principle of the legislation is having managers report on where efforts are not succeeding.
"We got great pushback" from the Office of Management and Budget on that approach, Warner said. "Pressing down on [poor-performing programs] sometimes puts career folks in an uncomfortable position."
At the same time, he said, Congress must take responsibility for eliminating some of the myriad reporting requirements placed on agencies in GPRA and other pieces of management-related legislation, and be careful not to layer on unnecessary reports. "Adding more requirements that never get looked at … doesn't make any sense," Warner said. With the new legislation, the senator added, he hopes that "the group of government performance nerds in Congress will grow."
Warner also said Congress and the Obama administration must be bolder in their efforts to get federal spending under control. "The normal tendency in government is to cut back, but not to eliminate," he said. "We're entering an era where you're going to have to do more with less," he told the audience of federal managers and executives. "We've always said that, but this time we really mean it." At the same time, Warner said that with a two-year pay freeze, federal employees have been singled out for a disproportionate amount of cuts so far. "It shouldn't have been done with just you guys," he said. Everyone, he said, should share the pain of budget reductions. "I don't think you can single out federal employees as whipping boys."