Bill would require agencies to designate chief operating officers

Senate passes bill to improve agency performance

The Senate has passed a bill that would require federal agencies to set measurable performance goals, improve coordination to avoid duplicative programs and post regular performance updates on a public website.

The Congressional Budget Office reported in November that implementing the Senate’s Government Performance and Results Modernization Act (S.3853) would cost the government an additional $75 million governmentwide from 2011 to 2015.

Related coverage:

Tracking bill could cost $75M, CBO says


The bill, passed Dec. 16, would require each agency to designate a chief operating officer (COO) to oversee its work to improve management functions in the agency and governmentwide. The deputy head of each agency, or an equivalent, would likely fill this position, according to the legislation.

The COO would coordinate with other relevant agency officials -- such as the chief financial officer, the chief acquisition officer/senior procurement executive and the CIO -- to achieve performance goals,. 

The legislation additionally calls for the appointment of a performance improvement officer to help the COO select agency goals and find opportunities to collaborate with other agencies.

In the first year of implementation, the bill would set a goal of a 10 percent reduction in the number of little-used or outdated agency reports mandated by past administrations or Congresses.

The legislation would also direct the Office of Management and Budget to create a public website no later than October 2012 for agencies to post performance data quarterly, instead of annually. Individual agency websites would be required to include information on strategic performance goals.

The bill, which updates The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, was introduced by Democratic Sens. Tom Carper of Delaware, Mark Warner of Virginia and Daniel Akaka of Hawaii.

“With concerns growing over the mounting federal deficit and national debt, the American people deserve to know that every dollar they send to Washington is being used to its utmost potential,” Carper said. “This legislation goes a long way in improving the performance and efficiency of the federal government and bringing the results our nation demands."

The legislation now goes to the House, which passed a similar version of the bill earlier this year.

About the Author

Alyah Khan is a staff writer covering IT policy.

Reader Comments

Tue, Dec 21, 2010 Mike

Brilliant!! Let's create another upper-level management position (not required, if existing management does their job). We can pay the new COO's (who knows how many they will create) a huge salary with bonuses. They can also get a million dollars upon vacating their position or retiring. Great idea! (NOT). As far as web-based reporting/statistics, that's fine. Just remember, metrics can usually be used to paint any desired picture. Increased exposure results in more taskings, talking papers and justification as to why something is in it's current situation (more man-hours explaining; more taskers in order to justify). Minimal oversight should lead to increased production.

Mon, Dec 20, 2010 Beel VA

@ g molaski-- there won't be any monetary incentives, you can bet on that! Instead of the carrot and the stick, it'll be the stick and the stick...

Mon, Dec 20, 2010 sc

What about the performance of Congress? Who is managing / measuring that?

Mon, Dec 20, 2010 g molaski Virginia

Yea! I have been advocating this for years. This is a great first step. Next is to provide incentives, both monitary and other to acheive the results.

Mon, Dec 20, 2010

Consistent with the open formats objective of the Open Gov Directive, performance goals for all programs should be documented on agency websites in open Strategy Markup Language (StratML) format. Documenting the stakeholders of each program in StratML format will enable compliance with paragraphs 202(b)(4) & (5) of the eGov Act, which require agencies to
work together to link their performance goals to key groups, including citizens, businesses, and other governments, as well as internal Federal Government operations.

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