OMB debuts quarterly performance updates

Official praises agency accomplishments, warns budget cuts could impede future progress.

Shelley Metzenbaum

OMB's Shelley Metzenbaum

The Obama administration has released its first-ever quarterly progress update on areas that need performance improvement through the attention from senior leaders.

Shelley Metzenbaum, associate director for performance and personnel management at the Office of Budget and Management, said agency leaders have set 103 near-term, implementation-focused priority goals. The administration has also picked 14 cross-agency priority goals that require multiple agencies’ collaboration.

Cross-agency priority goals include anything from job training, cybersecurity and improper payments. Agencies’ individual strategic objectives vary greatly, but include innovation and entrepreneurship (Commerce Department); prevention and deterrence of conflict (Defense Department) and being an innovation engine for government (General Services Administration).

Quarterly progress update will be posted on, which was unveiled in 2011 and revamped in December 2012. The website shows the administration’s efforts to improve the government, and details the performance goals of 24 agencies, including progress made and milestones met.

Metzenbaum highlighted some of the work agencies have done in their focus areas. The Interior Department, for example, set a goal that by Sept. 30, 2013, it would increase the approved capacity for renewable energy on or affecting public lands by at least 11,000 megawatts relative to 2009 levels. By late 2012, DOI had already approved 10,933 megawatts.

In 2009, the departments of Energy and Housing and Urban Development set a joint priority goal that between FY 2010 and FY 2013, they would enable cost-effective energy retrofits or energy-efficient new construction of 1.2 million housing units. That goal was met before the deadline, by the end of the second quarter of FY 2012.

The Treasury Department has also been successful in its goal to increase electronic transactions to improve service, prevent fraud and cut costs. It cut the number of paper claims from 195.5 million in 2007 to 41 million in 2012. The agency also upped the individual tax e-File rate to 80 percent in 2012 -- one year earlier than planned.

Metzenbaum said while these goals have seen success, the budget cuts currently in place could delay future advances.

"While progress on these and other priority goals has generally been strong through the first quarter of fiscal year 2013, further progress may be slowed in selected areas if sequestration continues," she cautioned.