OPM gets to green on e-gov rating

The Office of Personnel Management has done what only one other agency has accomplished: reached e-government nirvana.

OPM joined the National Science Foundation in earning a green score for e-government on the President’s Management Agenda, a senior administration official said today. NSF earned a green score last year.

Clay Johnson, OMB’s deputy director for management, said OPM and Energy are the only agencies that did not earn a red score on the latest report card in any of the five agenda items.

OMB will release the latest evaluations Monday with the president’s fiscal 2005 budget request.

OMB is tracking 26 agencies’ efforts to meet Bush administration management goals on human capital, competitive sourcing, financial management, e-government and budget and performance integration. A green rating means an agency has met all of OMB’s requirements; yellow means it has met some criteria; and red means it has serious problems.

The administration releases a scorecard every quarter, and changes in scores are compared with 2002 year-end ratings.

OPM’s improvement is directly attributed to IT security, said Karen Evans, OMB’s administrator for e-government and IT. She said the agency certified and accredited at least 80 percent of its systems.

“OPM really moved forward with a comprehensive IT security plan,” Evans said during a PMA briefing. “That is the last major challenge for many agencies.”

Overall, e-government scores remained fairly stagnant, with the Transportation Department and the General Services Administration joining OPM as the only agencies to improve their scores. Transportation and GSA moved to yellow from red. Otherwise, grades were the same as in the December 2002 evaluation: 13 reds, 11 yellows and two greens.

Johnson said IT security remains a weakness among agencies, with between 60 percent and 65 percent of all IT systems certified as secure.

But grades improved dramatically within the five agenda items. OMB handed out eight green grades in various categories, six more than a year ago; and 23 more yellow scores.

“The progress is real, and it is reflected in the quality of programs in the budget,” Johnson said. “We have the potential in three or four years down the road to have a results-oriented government.”

Most of the progress has been in financial performance, for which three more agencies that last year—the Education Department, Environmental Protection Agency and Social Security Administration—received a green score.

No agency has received a green for competitive sourcing, but 14 earned a yellow grade, up from zero last year.

OMB also is using the scorecard results and the Performance Assessment Ratings Tool to ask Congress to cancel programs worth about $1 billion, Johnson said.

“Every year any administration recommends some program funds be zeroed out, but this time it is partly based on the program’s ability to demonstrate results,” he said. “We also have asked for more money for programs that are not showing results because we think they need more funds.”

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