3 agencies tout PMA's value

OMB's Johnson says score cards improved agencies' effectiveness in the past 7 years.

Marcus Peacock carries a laminated card in his pocket that lists 10 management goals of the Environmental Protection Agency for 2008. Peacock, EPA’s deputy administrator, uses those bullet points to remind himself of what is possible in his final nine months in office. Those goals include developing a performance management division at EPA and deploying an electronic dashboard system in each region to track performance metrics. Peacock has another long-shot goal for EPA: to earn the President’s Quality Award for a second straight year. No agency has done that. Peacock, a former Office of Management and Budget official, said EPA is within reach of its goals based on its progress on the President’s Management Agenda. EPA, the Social Security Administration and the Labor Department were the only agencies that received green scores on the latest PMA score card in all five management categories: e-government, human capital, competitive sourcing, financial performance, and budget and performance integration. OMB grades agencies each quarter on their success in meeting goals in each category. Labor has received green scores in all five areas on nine of the past 10 score cards. “These three agencies today are quite advanced in their ability to be effective,” said Clay Johnson, OMB’s deputy director for management. “We’ve come a long way in the last six to seven years, and all of this is because of work done by federal employees.” Johnson showed the first score card from 2001, which had mostly red scores, indicating unsatisfactory. In contrast, the yellow and green ratings that dominate the most recent score card indicate mixed results and success. OMB said 82 percent of all scores are yellow or green, up from 75 percent in 2006 and 15 percent in 2001. There are 17 red scores, but only two are for e-government. EPA earned its latest green score by further implementing a human capital plan, Peacock said. The agency has had a workforce plan since 2003, but it has gained a better understanding of where its skill gaps are and what needs to be done to close them, he said. “We have about 12 skill sets or competencies that we will need in the near future,” Peacock said. “We’ve worked on four of them and are starting on the other eight.” SSA’s final push for a green rating occurred when it awarded a contract to Carlson-Wagonlit Government Travel, one of the three governmentwide e-travel systems, said Mary Glenn-Croft, the agency’s deputy commissioner for budget, finance and management. “We worked with OMB to develop a migration plan,” Glenn-Croft said. “That gave us a double jump — from red to green. I don’t think any agency has done that before.” Glenn-Croft said the PMA is helping SSA prepare for the baby boom retirement wave that started in January. “We will be able to deal with this workload better because of the PMA,” she said. “We have improved productivity by at least 2 percent a year since 2001.” Patrick Pizzella, Labor’s assistant secretary for administration and management and chief information officer, pointed to a reduction in the number of performance management systems departmentwide from eight to one. “We have 6.3 percent fewer full-time employees than we did in 2001 and our discretionary budget is lower, but productivity is up,” Pizzella said. “The key to this all was putting in place a human capital plan. Because human capital runs through the other four PMA areas, we had to get it right first.” 

3 PMA measures

The Environmental Protection Agency, the Labor Department and the Social Security Administration have received green scores in all five performance categories on the President’s Management Agenda. Here are some of their improvements.

  • EPA increased its pollution control enforcement. Companies spent $10.5 billion on that type of equipment in 2007, up from about $10.3 billion the year before.

  • Labor consolidated 30 information technology service components and expects to save $3 million on network maintenance costs as a result.

  • SSA transformed its disability claims process by replacing a paper-based system with an online system.

— Jason Miller

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