Gore unveils six-step Results Act plan

Gore unveils six-step Results Act plan

amaxwell@govexec.com

Vice President Al Gore Thursday outlined a six-step plan designed to ease agencies' implementation of the Government Performance and Results Act.

"GPRA is about restoring common sense to politics," Gore told attendees at a forum co-sponsored by the Council for Excellence in Government and the National Academy of Public Administration. "It's a matter of performance, not politics."

Comparing federal agencies to the Internet, Gore instructed managers to make their agencies an interactive web of information and solutions tailored to the specific needs of their customers.

First, agencies must focus oversight and management attention on outcomes, Gore said. "The basic rule of thumb should be: Ask the customer what is important and ask the customer how well you are doing," he said.

Next, agencies should work together to develop a set of common visions and goals, the Vice President said. Then they should focus on improving information technology. "It can deliver services across agency boundaries and provide real-time information on performance," Gore said.

The final three steps may take more time and devotion, Gore said. He suggested that agencies, Congress and the administration work together to shift from an annual budget process to a biennial system.

Agencies should also create incentives so managers want to manage for results, Gore said.

Franklin Raines, outgoing director of the Office of Management and Budget, echoed Gore's sentiments on incentives.

"In the private sector this would be the first thought," he said. "We need to use this in the government."

Finally, Gore suggested that the entire government rethink how it is organized. "We need to work more on horizontal lines than on vertical lines," he said.

Gore said that agencies are off to a "great start" with GPRA, but challenged leaders to do even better.

"It's time to shift the discussion from preparing plans to using the plans," he said. "Our challenge is to make the act work."

House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, agreed. "We can do better, we all know it," he said.

Armey said he plans to release grades on agencies' proposed fiscal 1999 performance plans within the next week. Rep. Thomas Petri, R-Wis., chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, said the Transportation Department's performance plan received one of the highest grades.

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