Evans’ vision is to stay the course

Karen Evans wants federal employees to know she is not an IT czar, she is not a tyrant and she is not a ruler.

No, the new Office of Management and Budget administrator for e-government and IT said she is a mother, a wife and someone who thinks IT is fun.

But if federal IT managers don’t know it yet, she is a stickler for meeting goals. For instance, she keeps an action item checklist to make sure everything gets done before CIO Council meetings.

And it’s that quality—the ability to make sure objectives are met and goals accomplished—that helped Evans rise from a GS-2 to a political appointment in 20 years.

Evans, who was named to the position last week, outlined her initial vision at the Interagency Resources Council Conference in Cambridge, Md.

“A lot of people asked me why I was moving over to a political position,” Evans said. “It is because I believe the program that Mark Forman and Norm [Lorentz] started is the right thing to do. This is all about all of us winning—the citizens and the government.”

Evans said she plans to keep the course set by Forman, the former administrator who resigned last month to work for an IT start-up in California. The course requires agencies to use business cases to justify IT spending, relate investments to their enterprise architectures and make privacy and security top priorities. And most of all, Evans said, the 25 Quicksilver initiatives will be finished by next year.

“We have the opportunity to craft what the future of federal IT will be,” she said. “This includes breakthrough performances, which will help build the next generation of government IT.”

As the vice chairwoman of the CIO Council, Evans said, she worked closely with Forman on several issues and is well-prepared for the position.

“Our management style may be different, but we didn’t differ on what the goal was,” she said. “We didn’t differ on this is the way to gain with IT, and we didn’t differ on business cases. I would offer suggestions on how we can improve some of the processes, and now I get the opportunity to see if they are good suggestions. It’s still to achieve the goals of the enterprise architecture and [25] initiatives.”

Evans said starting out as a GS-2 gave her the opportunity to see how the government works. But she said because she lacks industry experience she will rely on association groups for assistance.

“While I don’t have Mark Forman’s experience, I do have a unique insight to how OMB’s decisions impact agencies,” she said.

David McClure, the Council for Excellence in Government’s vice president for e-government, said OMB was looking for some to continue to implement the vision and not come in with a new one or make too many changes.

“Karen has a lot of good experience under her belt,” McClure said. “She learned how to do processes and is a great project manager.”

McClure added Evans must be forceful and have a single focus because she is moving from the position of colleague to supervisor.

Clay Johnson, OMB’s deputy director for management, downplayed Evans’ move to supervisor from colleague.

“People get promoted all the time, and it is the normal form of succession,” he said. “And she isn’t really a boss but a leader.”

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