OMB: A Change in Tone

WFED’s Jason Miller reports that the Office of Management and Budget wants to change its stripes and “move away from command and control toward a focus on collaboration.”

Governing by Suggestion Box

The Obama Administration is stepping up its efforts to solicit ideas from employees. In its first big effort, the SAVE Award (Securing Americans Value and Efficiency), the Office of Management and Budget encouraged employees to submit cost savings ideas. As of the end of the 6-week long contest period, OMB said it had received 38,400 ideas.

Dealing with Poor Performers

The issue of poor performers is a perennial topic. This topic seems to continually top the list of issues the President’s Management Council – comprised of deputy secretaries – wants to address by streamlining the rules. But a new report by the Merit Systems Protection Board concludes that it is not the rules, but the managers, who are the problem.

Risky Business

Recovery Act guidance from OMB requires agencies to identify the risk associated with each program and develop a plan of action to reduce such risks. After all, if a program gets 3,100 % increase in funding, like the home weatherization program did, there must be some risk involved!

Bottom-up Procurement Reform

There has been flood of memos and guidance on procurement reform coming out of the White House and OMB in recent months. But an open call for ideas was launched earlier this month via a collaborative project being undertaken by the General Service Administration, the National Academy of Public Administration, and a joint government/industry group called the American Council for Technology/Industry Advisory Council.

The Insourcer's Apprentice

Jeff Liebman is the Obama Administration’s point person for its efforts to cut service contract spending by 7 percent – about $40 billion a year – in part by insourcing work that has been outsourced to conractors, according to Federal Times’ Elise Castelli. Liebman is an executive associate director at the Office of Management and Budget.

New OMB Program Evaluation Guidance

The Office of Management and Budget released new guidelines to agencies to increase their emphasis on conducting program evaluations. According to the Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe in his article, “OMB Wants More Data on Government’s Performance,” OMB’s Jeff Zients told him: “We’re working to create a system that’s actually used by senior decision-makers.”

Priorities and Principles for Performance

Chief Performance Officer Jeff Zients debuted before an audience of federal managers yesterday at the Excellence in Government Conference 2009, recapping what he has seen and learned during his “listening tour” of the government in his first 100 days in office.

Citizen Engagement: GSA Update

While there’s been little open discussion in recent days about the progress of President Obama’s Open Government Directive, the General Services Administration’s quarterly “Intergovernmental Solutions” newsletter has dedicated its latest issue to describing dozens of examples of how citizen engagement is increasing in government – federal, state, local, as well as other countries. It is worth reading!

My Mission Statement

Happy New (Fiscal) Year 2010!

Have you made your New Year's Resolution yet? If not, here is an idea . . .

When I was working for Vice President Gore’s National Partnership for Reinventing Government in the 1990s, we were encouraged to craft personal mission statements.

My personal mission statement for more than a decade has been to “help create a government that is results-oriented, performance-based, citizen-focused, and collaborative in nature.”

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Senior Fellow
IBM Center for The Business of Government
600 14th Street, NW Second Floor
Washington, DC 20005
United States
202-551-9341

Mr. Kamensky is a Senior Fellow with the IBM Center for The Business of Government and an Associate Partner with IBM's Global Business Services.

During 24 years of public service, he had a significant role in helping pioneer the federal government's performance and results orientation. Mr. Kamensky is passionate about helping transform government to be more results-oriented, performance-based, customer-driven, and collaborative in nature.

Prior to joining the IBM Center, he served for eight years as deputy director of Vice President Gore's National Partnership for Reinventing Government. Before that, he worked at the Government Accountability Office where he played a key role in the development and passage of the Government Performance and Results Act.

Since joining the IBM Center, he has co-edited six books and writes and speaks extensively on performance management and government reform.  Current areas of emphasis include transparency, collaboration, and citizen engagement.  He also blogs about management challenges in government.

Mr. Kamensky is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and received a Masters in Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, in Austin, Texas. He can be reached at: john.kamensky@us.ibm.com