Latest PMA Scorecard Shows Mixed Results

OMB’s latest scorecard on federal agency implementation of the President’s Management Agenda was released this week. It evaluates agencies according to the five key initiatives from the President’s Management Agenda: human capital, competitive sourcing, financial performance, e-government, and budget/performance integration. The results were definitely mixed, with four agencies (Defense, Veteran’s Affairs, the Office of Personnel Management and the Small Business Administation) experiencing declining scores in one of the five categories. But there were some bright spots as well. Six agencies (Commerce, Homeland Security, State, Treasury, the National Science Foundation and the Social Security Administration) improved their scores in at least one category, with Commerce and State improving in two categories each. Both improved to green (the highest level) in financial performance, for example. This piece by Kimberly Palmer examines the improvements and declines in greater detail and offers a balanced perspective on the overall report:

” ‘The message from these status downgrades is that implementing the PMA is hard work, requiring significant, unequivocal attention by management; and we are serious about holding departments accountable,’ said Clay Johnson, OMB’s deputy director for management, in written remarks. . . . . ‘The progression is still to green. Four years ago, you saw a sea of red; today, you’re seeing green cropping up. This is great news,’ said Carl DeMaio, president of the Performance Institute, an Arlington, Va., think tank devoted to the study of government management. The fact that four scores were lowered is ‘a shot across the bow for those who may start to get lethargic on management reform,’ said DeMaio. The tougher scores may signal that in its second term, the Bush administration will be tougher on agencies, said [Professional Services Council president Stan] Soloway. ‘Anybody who thought the score card was entirely a sham is wrong,’ he said.”

Let’s hope that Mr. Soloway is correct. The tougher the Administation is on agencies, the more their performance will improve and the more accountable they will be to the American taxpayers.