E-gov makes no gains in new PMA scores

Clay Johnson

At first glance, agency progress in meeting the e-government goals of the President's Management Agenda seems to have hit a plateau. On the midyear PMA scorecard released last week, no agency improved its overall e-government status in the three months since the last evaluation.

But this doesn't mean e-government is not making strides, said Norm Lorentz, the Office of Management and Budget's chief technology officer.

'Sometimes the scorecard masks the progress agencies are making,' he said. 'If you look at how far we have come, it is pretty impressive.'

For example, Lorentz said, the Energy and Labor departments have made significant progress in planning for IT projects and in reducing duplicative spending.

'There are a number of agencies that are close to green in the categories within e-government,' he said. 'There are potentially a number of agencies which will be scored green by next summer in their overall e-government status.'

In the meantime, OMB said agencies earned the same marks in the midyear scorecard as they did for the last ratings on March 31: one green, 11 yellows and 14 reds.

OMB gives agencies scores of green, yellow or red for their efforts to meet the goals of the five agenda items, which are budget and performance integration, competitive sourcing, e-government, financial performance and human capital management.

Green means an agency has met all the standards for success; yellow means it has met some but not all; and red means there are serious problems. OMB grades each agency on its overall status and on its progress toward implementing the agenda items.

OMB changed some scores in the agencies' e-government progress evaluations. Three agencies'the Transportation and Treasury departments and the Army Corps of Engineers'improved to green, and two'the Environmental Protection Agency and the Small Business Administration'were downgraded to yellow.

Overall, OMB said nine agencies improved their ratings in at least one of the five PMA areas in the past three months.

'We have demonstrated what is possible,' said Clay Johnson, OMB deputy director for management. 'This is the most agencies have changed in two years from one quarter to the next. It is a significant milestone to move from red to yellow and even more to go from yellow to green.'

The Defense and Education departments and the Office of Personnel Management were the first agencies to move to yellow under competitive sourcing.

Model agencies

'These three built the infrastructure for their competitive sourcing programs,' said Angela Styles, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy. 'Education spent a lot of time assessing their work force, their mission and looking at the private sector to see what work is being done. They really can be a model for others.'

Four agencies'the State and Transportation departments, the Army Corps of Engineers and SBA'improved to yellow in human capital.

EPA and the Social Security Administration received the first green scores in financial performance.

Johnson said he predicts agencies will move to yellow for 85 percent of the scorecard by next summer.

'In one year, the average agency performance will be better than the best agency of two years ago,' Johnson said. 'This is a huge statement to me because we will be better managed and more results-oriented.'

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