OMB reviewing management

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Reflecting an administration priority, the Office of Management and Budget is reviewing whether it's lacking in management skills and resources, said Director Mitchell Daniels Jr.

Daniels said OMB will increase staff and funding if a report he expects to receive soon indicates shortcomings in management. "We are very intent on making forward progress in this area," he told the spring symposium of the American Association for Budget and Program Analysis on Wednesday.

The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday voted to support two key nominees in OMB's management leadership, and the full Senate is expected to confirm both, Daniels said. These are Angela Styles for administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and John Graham for administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

OMB still does not have a nominee for the position of deputy director for management, the lead official for all management issues. The agency has brought in Robert O'Neill, president of the National Academy of Public Administration, as a temporary adviser for Daniels, and the two met Wednesday morning to determine where O'Neill can best contribute, Daniels said.

"[O'Neill] could add value in a hundred areas, but we're going to pick a few," he said.

The first assignment for Styles when she joins OMB will be to focus on the Bush administration's management priority to increase the public/private competition of agency functions, Daniels said. This includes those listed as possible for outsourcing under the Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act, and those competed under the OMB A-76 process.

Under that charge, a key initiative will be to make sure that OMB's requirements in both areas are not part of the problem. The average time to complete an A-76 competition is 18 months — "and that's unacceptable," Daniels said.

"I want to make sure we're not an obstacle," he said.

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