E-gov may rely on big changes

Volcker Commission report

A reorganization of government may be the most necessary step to bringing better service to citizens, whether it's through e-government or any other means, officials said April 2.

Although the President's Management Agenda has been the Bush administration's primary mechanism for pushing agencies into new ways of dealing with the public and reworking old processes, it likely is not enough, said Norm Lorentz, chief technology officer at the Office of Management and Budget.

"There is no aspect of the federal government that doesn't need to change" to provide better service, he said. He was speaking at the Secure E-Business Summit in Crystal City, Va.

Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, is expected to introduce legislation to reauthorize the presidential reorganization authority plan, which would give the White House the authority to create new agencies and structures within the executive branch without legislation.

The authority has been used in the past for many purposes, including creating the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 1979. It expired in 1984 and no president since has asked for its reauthorization.

But now Davis and the White House are looking to push for executive branch reorganization authority, using a report from the Volcker National Commission on the Public Service as leverage. The report opens with the statement that "fundamental reorganization of the federal government is urgently needed to improve the capacity for coherent design and efficient implementation of public policy."

Greater attention to the federal governance structure is needed, agreed David McClure, vice president of e-government at the Council for Excellence in Government.

The reintroduction of the reorganization authority "will not be an easy discussion or a very easy one to conclude, but I think it needs to be discussed," he said.

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