OMB to help agencies prepare for transition

Officials of the Office of Management and Budget will meet with agencies’ senior career transition coordinators Sept. 24 to make sure agencies understand the needs of the incoming administration. In July, OMB provided specific transition guidance and best practices to agencies to prepare for the transition, said Clay Johnson, OMB's deputy director for management.

To ensure the next administration is prepared to deal with management and personnel challenges, agencies will have established by Jan. 20 their fiscal 2009 program, management practice goals, and the plans to achieve them, Johnson said at a hearing Sept. 10 of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce and the District of Columbia Subcommittee.

The next administration will benefit from the performance and management progress that agencies have made during the Bush administration to spend program funds more effectively, he said.

“They will almost certainly come in and seek to install different priorities, but they will inherit a lot of purposefulness,” Johnson said. “They will not inherit an empty blackboard but a blackboard full of clear goals, lots of accountability, lots of specific ways forward.”

"White House staff members have met with transition representatives for the major party candidates and will hold more sessions to help the representatives get their team functioning effectively faster than in previous years,” he said.

The next administration must also get the nominations of political  appointees to the Senate quickly. Both candidates have committed to doing that and to focusing on the 100 most important positions, Johnson said.

“They have to try to do it multiple times faster than ever before," he said. "Both candidates are aware of this and that our enemies see us as weak during this time of transition."

White House officials are meeting with the FBI to impress on the bureau the importance of clearing people faster than before, and there will be some discussions with Senate committees so they can understand what kind of candidates the new administration will be expecting to provide for approval, Johnson said.

The Government Accountability Office will provide congressional and executive branch policy-makers with a comprehensive view of how things are working across government and emphasize the need to update some federal activities, said Gene Dodaro, acting comptroller general.

The GAO will provide Congress and executive branch with facts and constructive options and suggestions that elected officials can use to make policy choices in this transition year, he said. GAO’s transition work also will highlight the need to modernize the machinery of government through better application of information technology, financial management, human capital and contracting practices.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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