Mark Forman to leave OMB

Mark Forman, the driving force behind the e-government initiatives, will leave the Office of Management and Budget next week to take a private sector job.

An agency spokesman confirmed the departure of Forman, administrator of OMB's Office of E-Government and Information Technology. The move comes three months after Mitchell Daniels resigned as OMB director.

Forman has taken a job with a start-up technology firm, said another OMB spokesperson, who could not identify the company. Norm Lorentz, OMB's chief technology officer, will take Forman's place temporarily, the spokesperson added.

Forman's surprising decision puts the President's Management Agenda at risk, said consultant Robert Guerra of Guerra, Kiviat, Flyzik and Associates Inc. Forman was the driving force behind the 24 e-gov initiatives and the enterprise architecture effort, he said.

"To be blunt, the e-gov initiatives individually, I don't think were that great an opportunity," Guerra said. "But as agencies began to focus on using technology toward a mission goal, that's the purpose those things served. Without Mark's energy and passion and intensity behind it, I'm concerned whether or not there is anyone [who] has the authority to put the pressure behind the effort."

Forman's devotion to the effort was especially important considering that Congress has funded e-gov at levels far below the administration's requests, Guerra said.

"I can see [the initiatives] stalling," he said. "They were getting enough resistance from agencies as it was. Now they don't have the champion, they don't have the power behind it. I can see them stagnating."

E-gov will not be abandoned, OMB spokesman Trent Duffy said.

"The administration remains fully committed to the e-gov component and every initiative of the President's Management Agenda," he said. "OMB will continue to press forward."

Forman's departure imperils the enterprise architecture component of the agenda, Guerra said. "That one is absolutely vital, and that's the one where I thought Mark did an absolutely excellent job," he said. "If I had to trade the 24 e-gov initiatives for enterprise architecture, I'd take enterprise architecture hands down."

Guerra said Forman's decision would have been more expected at the turn of the year or at the next presidential inauguration, Guerra said. He added that Forman's departure is understandable. "That's just a burn-out job," Guerra said.

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