Labor CIO tapped for review board

The Labor Department's assistant secretary for administration and management, who also is chief information officer, has been appointed chairman of a new board designed to ensure that President Bush's management reform plan is pursued.

Patrick Pizzella, confirmed by the Senate in May, will head a Management Review Board established earlier this month by Labor Secretary Elaine Chao. The board, which will include assistant secretaries from Labor's larger agencies, will coordinate and oversee agency management practices and address agency program plans and results, budgets and funding requirements, and human resources management.

In particular, the Management Review Board will coordinate execution of a number of key laws, such as the Government Performance and Results Act, the Clinger-Cohen Act, the Government Paperwork Elimination Act and the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act.

Labor created the board, along with the new Performance Review Board and Executive Resources Board, with Bush's government reform plans in mind. Bush's "Implementing Government Reform" agenda calls for integrating performance and budgeting, expanding competitive sourcing, strengthening agency workforces,improving financial management and advancing e-government.

"We want to ensure [that] the president's agenda and the secretary's areas of emphasis are being implemented departmentwide," Pizzella said. "We take seriously the responsibility we have while here to manage the public's assets."

Pizzella said smooth management is a top priority at Labor. "[Chao] wants us to run the department efficiently, and the Management Review Board will be a key tool in doing that."

Labor's Technical Review Board, formed in 1999, will be responsible for identifying and recommending IT capital planning improvements, agency and IT investments, and common IT issues for the Management Review Board.

Chris Wye, director of the National Academy of Public Administration's Center for Improving Government Performance, said Bush has left it up to individual agencies to decide how to implement his management ideas.

"They are not looking for a cookie-cutter approach," Wye said. "My understanding is they are giving wide latitude for secretaries to take individual paths to achieving these results."

Wye said a number of departments have contacted him to inquire about joining the center's Performance Consortium, which assists agencies in implementing GPRA. "They want to know what approach their colleagues are taking and what they're learning," Wye said.

Pizzella said the board's oversight of IT initiatives will help ensure that IT is used wisely, and because the board will be composed of members from a number of departments across Labor, an agencywide, cross-cutting approach to IT will result. Labor had already been working toward buildinga common IT architecture and systems, he said.

"This will reinforce those efforts and make sure we eliminate duplication and avoid wasteful spending decisions," Pizzella said. "We're trying to be sure that we don't misspend money on technology and that we have a coordinated approach to these systems and [the] architecture we do employ."

The use of electronic signatures and modern financial management systems are two major IT initiatives under way at Labor, he said.

The Management Review Board will meet at least once a month and initially will have about 14 members, Pizzella said.

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