The Federal Times recently published an article assessing the Obama administration’s progress toward achieving one of the president’s 2008 campaign promises: creating a culture of performance in the federal government.
The results, according to the article, have been mixed. The president promised to appoint the nation’s first “chief performance officer” (CPO) and to make agency performance more transparent. After the election, he announced Nancy Killefer, a “highly regarded management consultant and former Treasury Department official,” as his first choice for the job, but Killefer was forced to drop out over tax issues. The job was later filled by a series of officials, including OMB Deputy Director Jeffrey Zients, Lisa Brown, and now Shelley Metzenbaum, the associate director for performance and personnel management.
To fulfill its transparency goals, the administration launched performance.gov in August, 2011, but according to the article:
More than a year after its public debut in August 2011, performance.gov — a website billed by the administration as a “dynamic” online window for taxpayers to track government improvement efforts — remains mostly a warehouse for bulky reports that agencies were already producing. The most detailed sources of public information among those reports are in agencies’ fiscal 2011 performance reports, which are now almost a year old.
In the article, Metzenbaum countered that the administration’s efforts have been “aggressive,” pointing to the establishment of and progress toward 103 government-wide high-priority goals.
Governmentwide, Metzenbaum said, the White House is generating “a performance culture.” When Obama took office, NASA and the Veterans Affairs Department were the only major agencies that had performance reviews led by their chief operating officers, she said. Now, all do.
Metzenabum also pointed out that the administration is now implementing the 2010 Government Performance and Results Modernization Act, releasing guidelines for federal agencies in August.