Bush to nominate management deputy

President Bush plans to nominate Office of Management and Budget Controller Mark Everson to be the deputy director for management at OMB, putting an end to the administration's 15-month search for a top federal management official, administration sources said Wednesday.

As the deputy director for management, Everson would direct the Bush management agenda, including the five governmentwide initiatives and the "Freedom to Manage" legislation now before the Senate. A White House announcement on the nomination was expected late Wednesday. The position requires Senate confirmation.

Everson has already assumed some of the management deputy duties in recent months, chairing the President's Management Council and leading development of OMB's traffic-light scorecard to rate agency progress on the overall management agenda. Nominating Everson as the management deputy should give these efforts a higher profile on Capitol Hill and around federal agencies.

Paul Light, director of the Brookings Institution's governmental studies program, praised Everson while chiding the White House for taking so long to pick a top management official. "I think very highly of Everson. Although I don't agree with the red light/green light scoring system, he's smart, articulate, and deeply committed to performance management," he said. "I'd also add that the administration gets a bright red light on taking 15 months to find someone for the post."

Last year, then OMB deputy director and current NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe handled management chores before handing over some responsibilities to Everson. National Academy of Public Administration President Robert O'Neill also helped develop the Bush management agenda as a temporary counselor at OMB last summer.

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