Obama performance czar to wear dual hats

Lawrence Jackson/AP
President-elect Barack Obama on Wednesday named Nancy Killefer as the government's first chief performance officer, responsible for making federal programs run more efficiently. Killefer, who was an assistant secretary of the Treasury Department in the Clinton administration, confirmed to Government Executive that she also will be the deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget.

"During the campaign, I said that we must scour this budget line-by-line, eliminating what we don't need or what doesn't work, and improving the things that do," Obama said during a press conference. "Working with Peter Orszag and Rob Nabors at the Office of Management and Budget, Nancy Killefer is uniquely qualified to lead that effort."

Obama touted Killefer's career at Treasury, where she served as assistant secretary for management, chief financial officer and chief operating officer, as well as her private sector experience at McKinsey and Co., a management consulting firm where she is a senior director. The president-elect said Killefer is an expert at streamlining processes and eliminating inefficiencies who also understands that government services are delivered by people.

"She has always worked tirelessly to empower employees to take matters into their own hands, to rethink outmoded ways of doing things, to embrace new systems and technologies and to take initiative in developing better practices," Obama said.

Killefer will meet with Cabinet members and other key agency officials soon after the inauguration and then on a regular basis.

"I am convinced the success of every policy of this administration will be influenced by the people executing it, and I'm committed to engaging and drawing on the talents of the federal workforce in order to deliver on our promise of a new more efficient and effective government," Killefer said.

Jim Flyzik, president of the consulting firm TheFlyzikGroup, worked with Killefer when he was chief information officer at the Treasury Department, and called her "a fantastic selection."

"I enjoyed working for her -- she was tough, you had to justify everything you were doing and she required you to do your homework … but she was very fair and supportive," Flyzik said. "When you were able to demonstrate you knew what you were doing and put the performance metrics and governance structure in place, she would certainly get behind you."

Robert Shea, former OMB associate director for administration and government performance, said he has heard her described as "unflappable."

"She has been looked to by both parties as someone who is nonpartisan, super smart and can carry an enormous load and make it look effortless," Shea said. "Provided she gets additional resources -- which I expect her to get -- on top of what she can draw on at OMB, she can be successful."

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