OMB considers asset management

The Office of Management and Budget could add asset management to the scorecard it uses to grade how well agencies are meeting the governmentwide goals laid out in the President's Management Agenda, according to OMB's director.

"Asset management is something else the federal government does a very poor job of doing," OMB Director Mitchell Daniels Jr. said July 24 at a luncheon hosted by the PricewaterhouseCoopers Endowment for the Business of Government. "I think that's a strong candidate to be added."

OMB scores agencies in five categories: strategic workforce management, expanded use of e-government, increased competitive bidding of government services, improved financial performance and linking performance to budgets.

"There are no more important problems or urgent dilemmas facing the federal government than the five we picked," Daniels said. "So we'll be careful before we add to that list."

Almost every agency has shown significant progress on at least one of the agenda items, but several are in danger of not meeting goals they set for themselves, according to a White House report.

The Mid-Session Review, which OMB submitted to Congress July 15, included a chapter on the management of federal agencies for the first time.

"The best news almost without exception is that every agency and department is taking this seriously," he said.

NASA demonstrated the greatest improvement, receiving high marks across-the-board. The space agency's administrator Sean O'Keefe said he supports Daniels identifying asset management as another problem area.

"I think he's on to something, and I look forward to seeing how it's developed," O'Keefe said.

According to the review, agencies face the most trouble integrating budget and performance information, which many consider the most complex goal to achieve.

OMB has developed an instrument for standardizing the rating it plans to use during the next budget cycle to evaluate about 20 percent of the agencies' programs, according to Daniels.

"We do think, in some ways, this is the central reform," he said.

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