House legislation puts chief architect role in limbo

A little-noticed provision in a report on a House spending bill calls for eliminating the position of chief architect in the Office of Management and Budget.

The provision is tucked away in the House's Transportation, Treasury and Independent Agencies Appropriations bill, which controls OMB's funds.

The job of chief architect has been vacant since Bob Haycock stepped down in April. Richard Brozen, an employee on loan from NASA, has served as de facto architect since Haycock's departure. The office has no permanent staff.

A House staff member explained that the report is not passing judgment on the need for a chief architect. "The question we were asked to answer is, 'Are we going to get a reasonable return on the investment from having a program office turning the lights on and paying the expenses for one person to do this?' " the staffer said. "Whatever this office is supposed to be

doing, they certainly can't do it with one detailee."

Haycock said that during his time at OMB he had planned to add two or three permanent staff members. "It's kind of a juggling act — at least it was when I was there — to try to get money to fund the contractor, to get money for the detailees" and for permanent positions, he said.

Improving relations with Congress was another item on his to-do list, Haycock said. "We had concluded we had to work to do up on Capitol Hill, especially with the appropriations committees," he said. "We had not done as good a job as we could have, and should have, to build that understanding."

The Senate's version of the appropriations bill does not include a provision for eliminating the chief architect position. That bill cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee Sept. 14 but hasn't been voted on by the full Senate. Congress is in recess until after the November elections.

Whether the House language will survive the conference process is anybody's guess. "We're going to press our case and try to get the Senate to take it," the House staffer said.

Congressional observers point out that agency officials are not compelled to follow advice included in legislative branch reports, though they generally tend to do so to avoid infuriating lawmakers, who hold the purse strings.

About the Author

David Perera is a special contributor to Defense Systems.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group