Senate passes bill to improve agency performance

Bill would require agencies to designate chief operating officers

The Senate has passed a bill that would require federal agencies to set measurable performance goals, improve coordination to avoid duplicative programs and post regular performance updates on a public website.

The Congressional Budget Office reported in November that implementing the Senate’s Government Performance and Results Modernization Act (S.3853) would cost the government an additional $75 million governmentwide from 2011 to 2015.


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The bill, passed Dec. 16, would require each agency to designate a chief operating officer (COO) to oversee its work to improve management functions in the agency and governmentwide. The deputy head of each agency, or an equivalent, would likely fill this position, according to the legislation.

The COO would coordinate with other relevant agency officials -- such as the chief financial officer, the chief acquisition officer/senior procurement executive and the CIO -- to achieve performance goals,. 

The legislation additionally calls for the appointment of a performance improvement officer to help the COO select agency goals and find opportunities to collaborate with other agencies.

In the first year of implementation, the bill would set a goal of a 10 percent reduction in the number of little-used or outdated agency reports mandated by past administrations or Congresses.

The legislation would also direct the Office of Management and Budget to create a public website no later than October 2012 for agencies to post performance data quarterly, instead of annually. Individual agency websites would be required to include information on strategic performance goals.

The bill, which updates The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, was introduced by Democratic Sens. Tom Carper of Delaware, Mark Warner of Virginia and Daniel Akaka of Hawaii.

“With concerns growing over the mounting federal deficit and national debt, the American people deserve to know that every dollar they send to Washington is being used to its utmost potential,” Carper said. “This legislation goes a long way in improving the performance and efficiency of the federal government and bringing the results our nation demands."

The legislation now goes to the House, which passed a similar version of the bill earlier this year.

About the Author

Alyah Khan is a staff writer covering IT policy.

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