Thursday, June 16, 2011
Articles from across the Web that we found interesting, the week of June 13, 2011

Gadi Ben-Yehuda

  • Vivek Kundra to Leave White House in August.  OMB Director Jack Lew has a nice good-bye post on the WH Blog for Vivek Kundra, who announced that he is leaving the administration in August for a fellowship at Harvard.
  • Need to Find an Embassy? Look up a Travel Alert? There's an App for That.  The State Department has released the Smart Traveler App.  To steal another slogan (from the 80s) Don't leave home without it!
  • Who Do you Trust Online?  The Pew Internet Research & American Life Center has released a report that examined social networking sites.  The report is based on a survey that explored people’s overall social networks and how use of these technologies is related to trust, tolerance, social support, and community and political engagement.  Important topics for government agencies with a footprint in social media.


John Kamensky

White House Announces New “Campaign to Cut Waste.” Vice President Biden, relishing his role as “Sheriff Joe,” was designated by President Obama to lead a new Campaign to Cut Waste. Obama’s executive order, “Delivering an Efficient, Effective, and Accountable Government,’ also creates a new 11-member Government Accountability and Transparency Board modeled after the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board.

At the same event, Chief Performance Officer Jeff Zients released a status update of Administration initiatives to cut waste and improve results, noting a total of $33 billion in savings to date.

New Governmentwide Website Pruning Project. As part of his Campaign to Cut Waste, the President is mandating a reduction in the number of federal websites and has launched a taskforce to oversee the cuts. Agencies are barred from launching new websites for next 90 days while a review task force gets set up and creates an inventory of what’s there today. Estimates range from 2,000 to 24,000, depending on one’s definition of what constitutes a “website.” The goal is to cut 25 percent in next few months and half over the coming year.

Congressman Issa Matches Obama Initiative, Holds Hearing and Submits Bill on Increased Accountability. Congressman Darrell Issa held a hearing on Tuesday on the need for increased transparency and accountability in federal spending, modeled in part on the successful efforts of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board. The testimony of individual witnesses is worth looking at, especially the testimony of Earl Devaney, chair of the Accountability Board.

Issa also introduced legislation that would transform the role of the Accountability Board to cover the spending of the entire government, not just Recovery Act monies. Here’s the full text of H.R. 2146, and here’s the section-by-section summary.

Senator Mark Warner later in the week introduced companion legislation in the Senate.  Here's the full text of S. 1222.

Customer Service OMB Guidance Memo is now out on the streetAgency plans are still due end of October. The guidance also creates a governmentwide Customer Service Task Force. As promised in the Memo, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs released parallel guidance providing a fast-track process for collecting customer service feedback.

Lessons on Executive Reorganization. The Center for American Progress released a very insightful briefing paper last week, “Executive Reorganization: Six Lessons from the 1970s,” by Harrison Wellford, Jitinder Kohli, and James Hairston. For example: “No unit of government is so obscure or redundant that an agency head or member of Congress will not stoop to defend it.” Wellford led President Jimmy Carter’s reorganization efforts, so he knows what he’s talking about and has the scars to prove it! Well worth the read; it’s only 9 pages. . . . Meanwhile, across “The Pond,” the UK National Audit Office also has a report on lessons from reorganization efforts, noting that the British government undertook about 90 reorganization efforts in the past 4 years, at a cost of nearly $400 million a year.

Steve Kelman blog on the 2011 Public Management Research Conference. Every couple of years, top academics in public administration convene to share their research. Dr. Kelman’s blog post about the conference this year praises the quality of the papers presented. I’ll praise the quality of his blog!! . . . So here’s a link to papers presented at the Conference.


Dan Chenok

The Business of Government Radio Show: Dan Tangherlini

The Business of Government Hour features a conversation about management with a government executive who is changing the way government does business. The executives discuss their careers and the management challenges facing their organizations. Past government executives include Administrators, Chief Financial Officers, Chief Information Officers, Chief Operating Officers, Commissioners, Controllers, Directors, and Undersecretaries.

Daniel Tangherlini serves as the principal policy advisor on the development and execution of the budget and performance plans for Treasury.

Each week, The Business of Government Hour interviews government executive who are changing the way government does business. The show airs four times a week on two radio stations in the DC Metro Area. If you can't wait, though, we also put it online. You can also search our audio archives for your favorite interview.