Praise on the Hill for Forman, but more work remains

Congressional staff members this week lauded the work of Mark Forman, associate director for IT and E-Government in the Office of Management and Budget, for pushing agencies toward collaboration and efficiency on the 25 Quicksilver e-government projects. But they also said the projects have a long way to go and that Congress will be paying attention.

In fact, the General Accounting Office will issue a report on the projects to the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee by the end of the year, said Kevin Landy, a professional staff member for the committee. Its chairman Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) requested the report.

Landy spoke earlier this week at a roundtable discussion in Falls Church, Va., sponsored by the Industry Advisory Council. He was joined by Peter Levine, staff director for the Senate Armed Services Committee; Melissa Wojciak, staff director for the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology and Procurement Policy; and Steve Kelman, a professor at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and former administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy.

'The [25] projects are a small number of all the agencies' e-government projects, and I'm not sure Mark Forman knows about all of them,' Landy said. 'But good management must trickle down from the top and he is trying to put good management in place.'

Levine said having a top-down management approach makes sure all the rules and regulations are being followed and that is important to get projects such as these done.

Wojciak said Forman deserves much of the credit for bringing agencies together. She said the E-Government Act of 2002, which Congress recently sent to the president to be signed, will codify Forman's office to ensure continued oversight.

'We've seen with the President's Management Agenda that there really is management in the Office of Budget and Management,' she said. 'The subcommittee will be interested to see how the scorecard will be used to bring agencies up to speed and force them to use better management tools.'

Kelman said Forman's position within OMB supplied him with the tools to move agencies. 'I'm moderately optimistic that these projects will get done, and Mark is doing the things that need to be done,' Kelman said.

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