OMB cites lack of funding, as agency E-gov scores slip

The latest quarterly President’s Management Agenda scorecard suggests the administration still has its work cut out for it as it tries to convince a skeptical Congress of the benefits of its E-government initative.

Nine agencies slipped in the E-government portion of the PMA, a big drop the Office of Management and Budget blamed on Congress for not providing necessary funding to implement e-gov programs.

“[P]rogress in implementing the E-government initiative, a major component of the President’s Management Agenda, still lags behind, in part because Congress has not provided the funding for the initiative at requested levels,” OMB said in a statement in conjunction with the release of the scorecard.

The scorecard comes on the heels of OMB launching a campaign to sell the idea to lawmakers and secure funding for these projects, after Congress passed appropriations bills last year with restrictive language that put funding in jeopardy and could potentially hamstring a number of high-profile projects.

In the latest report card, only the Social Security Administration improved its score from last quarter, earning coveted green status. Several others, including the Commerce, Defense, Justice and Transportation departments and the Office of Personnel Management, saw their scores drop, earning them red ratings.

The scorecard tracks agency compliance with PMA requirements for improving government management. Aside from E-government, the PMA scores agency progress in meeting goals for human capital, competitive sourcing, financial and budget performance, and integration. A green rating means an agency has met all the standards for success, yellow means it has met some standards but not all, and red means there are serious problems.

The Homeland Security, Interior and Veterans Affairs departments, along with the Army Corps of Engineers, all kept their red ratings from the previous quarter.

The Labor Department retained its green status, leaving it as the only agency that received green marks for all of the PMA’s categories, including human capital, competitive sourcing, financial performance, and budget performance and integration.

The National Science Foundation also maintained its green status for E-government, while the Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Treasury, State and Agriculture departments, along with OMB, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Small Business Administration, Smithsonian, the General Services Administration, NASA, and the Agency for International Development all received yellow grades.

OMB said the latest results demonstrate the need for the administration to work more closely with Congress “to communicate the benefits and improved service provided by the E-Government initiative’s governmentwide solutions and explain why these multi- and interagency projects are funded with payments from all the participating agencies.”

The E-government portion of the scorecard was the only category that saw significant change, as agencies for the most part retained their grades from the previous quarters in the other sections.

The two exceptions are USAID, which moved up to a yellow in financial performance, and Justice, which achieved a green rating for budget performance and integration.

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