A recent academic symposium on performance-based budgeting suggests that trying to apply this noble idea across government may be hopeless.
Decades of research and efforts to implement performance budgeting across federal, state, and local governments in the U.S. seem to consistently come down to the conclusion that no matter how rational it sounds, politicians don’t want to use it to make decisions.
The word “accountability” ranks right up there with “freedom,” “justice,” and “democracy” – words commonly used and thought to be understood by all. But that is wrong. It is a term that is complex and misunderstood, and subject to abuse in political discourse.
In the coming years, government executives will need to utilize real-time information for decision-making and accountability. Specifically, they must (1) Collect better data; (2) Conduct better analysis; (3) Make better decisions; and (4) Take smarter action.
The fiscal year 2016 consolidated appropriations bill was signed in mid-December, averting a potential government shutdown, but the bill was over two thousand pages long, with even more details in the accompanying committee reports. The amount of detail is amazing, including a provision authorizing breastfeeding of babies in federal buildings (p. 582), but there are also five provisions that have potential long-term effects on government performance and management.
An Empty Driver’s Seat. Federal News Radiointerviews Danny Werfel former federal exec, and former acting IRS commissioner: “Call it the eighth year syndrome. It's the last year of a presidency and scores of politically appointed slots throughout the federal government are vacant, and likely to stay that way until the next administration comes in.” Werfel gives advice on how career execs can manage through this period.
The topics Obama plans to hit -- and avoid -- at SXSW. When President Barack Obama makes history as the first sitting president to appear at the South by Southwest music, film and technology conferences, he'll likely be talking up public service but he doesn't plan to focus on federal hiring issues or the ongoing encryption debate.