E-gov grades drop for six agencies

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E-government took a hit in the latest report card on the President’s Management Agenda’s initiatives, as the current status rating dropped for six agencies.

In the Office of Management and Budget’s latest score card for the quarter ending Sept. 30, four agencies received green scores for their current state of e-government, compared with seven agencies after the previous quarter. Nine agencies scored red in e-government, compared with six failing grades last quarter. Last year at this time, eight agencies were seeing green and seven failed.

In the quarterly score card, OMB officials evaluate agency status and progress in five areas: workforce management, competitive sourcing, financial performance, e-government, and budget and performance integration.

Clay Johnson, OMB’s deputy director for management, attributed the downgrade to failure to complete several milestones in agencies’ e-government implementation plans.

Although “97 percent of all milestones were achieved, one agency did not implement Disaster Management Interoperability Services as planned, 25 percent of discretionary grant application packages were not posted on Grants.gov at one agency, and the migration to the Federal Docket Management System did not occur,” Johnson said in a statement.

Agencies that dropped include the Environmental Protection Agency, the State Department and NASA, which all dropped from green to yellow; the Interior and Justice departments and the U.S. Agency for International Development, which all moved from yellow to red.

At a conference held today by the market research firm Input, Karen Evans, OMB’s administrator for e-government and information technology, said it’s tough for agencies to maintain a green score because if an agency misses a milestone “you drop in status.” And some agencies have 100 milestones to maintain their status.

Evans said the score card shows the “impact of e-government plans kicking in.”

The Transportation and Labor departments maintained their green scores, but “they will tell you it's really hard to be green,” Evans said. “Now they have to maintain it.”

She said agencies are always feeling the pressure because department secretaries want to perform well.

“Every agency that is yellow wants to be green,” Evans said.

Johnson said OMB officials expect e-government implementation to be on track by next quarter.

There was some good news in the latest report’s progress score for a few agencies. The Health and Human Services and Justice departments both moved from yellow to green in the area of budget performance and integration, and the Treasury Department improved to a green progress score in e-government.

Michael is a freelance writer based in Chicago.

Judi Hasson contributed to this report.

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