OMB may seek 'loan' for lines-of-business projects

HERSHEY, Pa. ? The Office of Management and Budget is considering an innovation fund to pay for its lines-of-business consolidation projects.

John Sindelar, OMB's program manager for the e-government initiative, said yesterday that such a fund would be a way to get money upfront to pay for the projects, and then pay it back from savings that the systems garner.

"It would be similar to a governmentwide working capital fund," Sindelar said at the 14th annual Executive Leadership Conference sponsored by the Industry Advisory Council and the American Council for Technology. "It basically is a loan from Congress to get started."

OMB set up three task forces to develop business cases to consolidate agency financial management, human resources and grants administration. Two of the task forces submitted business cases in September for setting up shared service centers for financial management and human resources. A third task force recommended using a consortium approach for a grants administration system.

Sindelar said OMB has not made a decision on whether to ask Congress for this type of fund, but it is an option.

OMB has had little luck getting congressional approval for central funding of cross-agency projects. Over the past three years, the administration requested $100 million but received only $13 million for its Quicksilver e-government projects fund.

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