Obama To Create/Appoint Chief Performance Officer Position

Obama To Create/Appoint Chief Performance Officer Position


The announcement will come tomorrow, and the job description is all about reform:

  1. Go through the federal budget line by line and cut the fat.
  2. Hold agencies accountable.
  3. Restore fiscal discipline.

In case you don’t remember, Obama outlined this as part of his reform agenda during the campaign…

Barack Obama and Joe Biden will create a focused team within the White House that will work with agency leaders and the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to improve results and outcomes for federal government programs while eliminating waste and inefficiency. This unit, a SWAT team, will be composed of top-performing and highly-trained government professionals and be headed by a new Chief Performance Officer (CPO) who will report directly to the president. The CPO will work with federal agencies to set tough performance targets and hold managers responsible for progress. The president will meet regularly with cabinet officers to review the progress their agencies are making toward meeting performance improvement targets.

And the idea is winning praise from those who served in the OMB:

Robert Shea, former OMB associate director for administration and government performance, said he believes OMB has developed a strong foundation on which the Obama administration can build, but that establishing a CPO position in the White House might help overcome the challenges the agency faces in integrating performance initiatives with the programs they’re designed to improve.

“Having a chief performance officer in the White House reporting to the president gives you an opportunity to make the people responsible for achieving the president’s priorities pay more attention to the importance of management in achieving those goals,” said Shea, now a director with the global public sector of consultant firm Grant Thornton LLP.

Obviously this isn’t a cure-all, but I’d hope that we can all agree that this is a welcome step from a Democrat. Because this represent exactly the type of change he was talking about all throughout the campaign.

  • kranky kritter

    I’ll agree that it’s welcome.

    How much of an actual “step” it is, that remains to be seen.

    After all, it’s very easy to say stuff, and also pretty easy to create an agency and make up jobs for the people there to do. I don’t recall anyone from either side saying that they were opposed to going through the budget line by line and finding cuts.

    Notice how no one ever says that they are against fiscal discipline, they simply oppose it in action by proposing spending regardless of whether the government actually has the money. I support Obama, but I don’t have to be a genius or a financial wiz to wonder just how the goal of restoring fiscal discipline squares with the suggestion that soon after he takes office, Obama is prepared to “boldly” enact a “stimulus” that will, irrespective of its benefits, spend $775 BILLION that the government does not have and will have to borrow.

    So to sum up, sure, let’s all be cheery that Obama is making a nod to fiscal discipline. But at this point, we have absolutely no reason to belive that it’s more than lip service. The past decade or two has shown us a parade of new government “czars” of one type or another. How many of these czars have become well-known heros of American history for leading us toward the solutions to the problems they were appointed to address? Zero, right?

    I truly hope it is more than lip service. For example, when it comes to struggling states begging for money, I hope it comes in the form of LOANS from the fed government, given out in concurrence with each state’s budget cuts. So for example, maybe the feds will loan states $1 for every $2 in budget cuts they make. No cuts, no help.

  • ExiledIndependent

    This is change I can believe in. Or something. At any rate, definitely a good thing to do; seems kind of contradictory to stress fiscal responsibility, though, when pushing for hundreds of billions of dollars of stimulus that doesn’t stimulate much.

    Here’s hoping the first thing this CPO will go after is TARP.