Line of business will outlast administrations

The Financial Management Line of Business will survive through the two years left in President Bush's administration and into the next president’s term, although it may get a new name, a panel of experts said today.

Karen Evans, administrator for e-government and information technology at the Office of Management and Budget, said Bush wants the initiatives in his management agenda institutionalized before he leaves office, and she added that officials cannot slow down in doing that.

“Actually, what he asked us to do was speed it up,” Evans said in a speech at a breakfast hosted by IBM and software provider SAP Public Services. The President's Management Agenda, Evans said, is intended to improve government services while saving tax dollars.

A panel of financial management experts agreed that the push to move toward the line of business will be too difficult to reverse whether the next president is a Democrat or Republican.

John Sindelar, deputy administrator of the General Services Administration's policy office and a panelist at the breakfast, said the number of agencies moving to shared-services providers or centers of excellence in the next two years will make it “hard to reverse history.”

Although it is renamed from administration to administration, the framework is proven and its momentum will be irreversible, said Jonathan Breul, a partner at IBM’s business consulting services. It is changing how the government does business and transforming agencies, he said.

The line of business -- and the overall management agenda -- has roots in the Clinton administration, Breul said. “This is not all cooked up by President Bush," he added.

Sindelar said now lawmakers must buy into the lines of business initiatives if Congress can understand that they streamline government and save taxpayers’ money. Then they can take the initiatives home to their constituents, he said.

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