Rep. Towns: Restructuring could fix some agencies' operations

Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), new chairman of a House oversight subcommittee, today said the federal government may need to restructure some agencies so they run more efficiently.

The government struggles to run smoothly, with its disjointed programs and stovepipe systems, said Towns, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s subcommittee on Government Management, Organization and Procurement. In an interview with Federal Computer Week, he said his subcommittee will dig into those problems to find solutions to save taxpayers’ dollars.

“Many [agencies] are broken, and they need to be fixed,” Towns said. “That’s what we’re going to be about.”

One defense agency, for example, builds an overarching employee database, but it fails to interact with regional databases with similar employee information. Making the two databases work together would save the government time and money, and save a soldier and the soldier's family from headaches, because a paycheck is delayed in the disparate programs.

“Where we can cut, we cut, but at the same time, where it’s broken, we want to fix it,” he said.

The subcommittee will carry out its oversight responsibilities and will suggest to agencies ways to solve their troubles, even introducing legislation to push those improvements into the agencies, he said.

“Wherever the road leads us, that is where we want to go, because this is all about trying to save money, making certain there is no waste, fraud or abuse,” Towns said.

The subcommittee is going to make noise on those issues and, by doing so, get people’s attention focused on the problems, he said.

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