OMB Soliciting Input from Agencies

Mr. Peter R. Orszag

In a June 11 memo, Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Peter Orszag outlined the process for executive branch agencies to submit their FY 2011 budgets. According to the memo, the White House and OMB will solicit goals for each agency from the heads of the respective executive departments. Additionally, the memo outlined procedures for government agencies to reform their hiring processes and improve employee satisfaction and wellness. It is too early to discern the impact of these procedures, but the tone of the memo seems markedly different from those of the Bush administration on these matters.

In an article released Monday addressing the memo and reaction to it, reported:

Orszag wrote that having each agency spell out its goals is a first step to meeting the president's agenda for building a high-performing government.


John Kamensky, senior fellow at the IBM Center for the Business of Government, said it is normal for administrations to release budget guidance memos in this time frame, but called the section on identifying performance goals "unusual." Kamensky particularly praised Orszag for learning from past administrations that agencies, not the White House or OMB, should set priorities.


The priorities should address challenges agencies are unlikely to overcome without a concerted focus of resources but, once resolved, will likely lead to improved efficiency and effectiveness, Orszag wrote. They also are supposed to be relatively near-term goals with performance outcomes officials can evaluate and measure in a timely fashion.

The information is due to OMB no later than July 31.

It is unclear what the practical result of this memo will be, but it is interesting to note that it does not mention the Program Rating Assessment Tool (PART). This is another indication from the Obama White House that it will not continue with the previous administration's performance assessment tool.

Image by Flickr user jburwen used under a Creative Commons license.

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