New Quicksilver strategy asks managers to deliver

'There are some additional responsibilities and accountabilities that have to do to with outreach that are unique to government, but mostly my position is the same.'

'OMB's Mark Forman

J. Adam Fenster

In the new E-Government Strategy, the Office of Management and Budget has squarely put the pressure on the 25 Quicksilver project managers.

The latest version of the strategy, released this month, lays out specific dates and goals for each Quicksilver project.

'This is more of a concrete step than you saw in the first strategy,' said David McClure, vice president for e-government at the Council for Excellence in Government, a Washington nonprofit. 'This is focused on results and consolidation. This is when it gets real.'

Besides releasing the new strategy, Mark Forman moved into the new position of administrator for the Office of E-Government and IT, an office mandated by the E-Government Act of 2002.

Although his job description hardly changes, Forman's new title and the creation of the office mark the administration's initial implementation of the E-Government Act that President Bush signed into law in December.

'There are some additional responsibilities and accountabilities that have to do with outreach that are unique to government, but mostly my position is the same,' Forman said.

The strategy builds on the first e-government plan, in which OMB and agencies concentrated on reaching a consensus approach to e-government. Now the focus is on migrating systems, Forman said.

OMB outlined Quicksilver progress to date and identified upcoming milestones, including approximate project completion dates.

For example, by Oct. 31, www.recreation.gov, a Web site that provides information on government-owned recreational sites, must have a new cross-government reservation system. In addition, the National Park Service will shut down its reservation system.

From one to many

By July, agencies with legacy systems that let citizens participate in the federal rule-making process will begin migrating the systems to the cross-agency www.regulations.gov.

'The emphasis is the right one,' said Jim Van Wert, project manager for the Small Business Administration's Business Compliance One-Stop. 'The projects must move forward and extend one agency's work to many agencies. It then will save time and money, and most important, reduce the burden on the user group.'

Norm Enger, the Office of Personnel Management's e-government director, said project managers negotiated the metrics and milestones with OMB, so there were few surprises in the document.

'We are now dealing with specific deliverables and showing the metrics to justify why we are doing something,' he said. 'The timetables are aggressive, but we believe they are achievable.'

The strategy also provides Congress an oversight role, said a subcommittee spokesman for Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census.

'The subcommittee doesn't want to micromanage the projects, but it will look at basic criteria to see if OMB and the projects are measuring up to what they said they would,' the spokesman said.
To read the strategy online, go to gcn.com and enter 112 in the GCN.com/search box.

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