Posts Tagged ‘Executive Order’

Transition Coordination Council Meets

October 28, 2008

The Transition Coordination Council, created by an Executive Order signed by President Bush several weeks ago, meet today for the second time.  They heard from a series of experts as well as from past White House Chiefs of Staff.  The White House released a Fact Sheet on what’s been done to date.


Inventory of Blog Entries

October 22, 2008

This is my 100th blog entry!  Thanks to our many readers and contributors.  While few people post comments on our entries, we get lots of emails and phone calls.  Also, thanks to the Library of Congress for asking to preserve the site as part of its 2008 election coverage.  It’s been fun.


I looked back to see if there were any themes to all the stuff I’ve been writing and thought this would be a good point to come up with a rough index, which I’ll periodically update:


 (Last Updated: December 23, 2008)


Blogs on “The Big Picture” — Where Is Government Reform Going?

Blogs on What the Campaigns Have Been Saying About Government Reform


Blogs on the History of Transitions


Blogs on the 2008 Transition Process

 Blogs on The Bush Administration’s Transition-Out Activities

 Blogs on Management Ideas for the Next Administration

 Blogs on Advice for the New Team

Blogs on What Other Groups Are Doing


I’ll expand this list over time, so you might want to bookmark this page and return to it when you might be looking for something particular.


Also, I’m getting so much stuff, I’ll start blogging more frequently, with shorter blogs.  Would like to see how that works for you. Let me know. 

New Transition Executive Order

October 9, 2008

President Bush signed a new executive order this morning outlining how his Administration will facilitate the upcoming transition.  The executive order creates a Presidential Transition Coordinating Council, chaired by the President’s chief of staff, Josh Bolton.  The Council is charged with collecting information about past transitions and provide assistance to the major party candidates and the president-elect.

The General Services Administration is charged with coordinating these materials as well as preparing a Transition Directory.  “Transition agreements” will be entered into between the White House, executive agencies and “the transition teams for the major party candidates and the President-elect. . . “

Similar executive orders have been issued in the past, but generally after Election Day.  Also, this new Order seems to suggest that contacts between the government and transition teams are being encouraged in advance of the Election.  I’ll update with links to media stories that might explain further.

Interestingly, a recent Huffington Post story by Sam Stein provides an update on the Obama and McCain transition efforts underway.  The story says that the two efforts are “worlds apart” in their approach.  Stein says “Sen. Barack Obama has organized an elaborate well-staffed network to prepare for his possible ascension to the White House, while Sen. John McCain has all but put off such work until after the election.”  He notes that McCain’s own staff express concern over his lack of planning.

Adding a Player

November 27, 2007

John Kamensky, Senior Fellow, IBM Center for The Business of GovernmentIn my November 6th blog, I missed a beat.  I had described four forces that will likely influence the next Administration’s management agenda:  the President-elect, the bureaucracy, the Congress, and the think tanks.  One that I’d missed:  the current President!

President Bush made that clear the week after that blog entry by releasing a new Executive Order, “Improving Government Program Performance.”

The new executive order says it is intended “to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the Federal Government and promote greater accountability. . .”  The Order:

·        Requires each agency head to create annual and long-term goals.  These goals are to have “objectively measurable outcomes” and measure progress towards those goals. Individuals must be held accountable for meeting those goals.  The Order also requires agency heads to justify their budget requests based on “objective performance information” and post “updated and accurate” program-level performance information on their agency’s websites.

·        Requires each agency head to appoint a “Performance Improvement Officer.”  This newly-designated officer is to be a senior executive who will be the focal point for the development of their agency’s strategic plan, annual performance plan, and annual performance report – all of which are required by the Government Performance and Results Act.  They are also responsible for assessing the goals and targets proposed by program managers, as well as assessing the measures being used by the programs.  In addition, they are responsible for assessing performance and advising on “performance measures in personnel performance appraisals.”

·        Creates a government-wide “Performance Improvement Council.” The deputy director for management of the Office of Management and Budget will chair a cross-agency council of performance improvement officers.  Collectively, they will develop criteria for evaluating program performance (which could be the existing Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART), or some variation). They will also be able to share best practices as well as develop a website “that provides the public with information on who well each agency performs.”  Currently, OMB sponsors a website,, that provides program-level performance assessments done using the PART.

This executive order embeds in the machinery of government a single point of accountability in each agency and government-wide for creating, tracking, and reporting performance and results — 14 years after the passage of the Results Act.   Over the years, this responsibility has been performed in different places in different agencies.  Some placed this responsibility with their chief financial officer.  Others placed it in their planning or budgeting units.  Some split the responsibilities across their agencies.  This Executive Order finally creates a single focal point of accountability.  It also creates a cross-agency network of these officials so they can share best practices, much like other cross-agency councils such as the Chief Financial Officers Council.

So, in the upcoming year, senior executives will be designated as their agency’s “performance improvement officer” and a cross-agency council of performance officers will convene and likely set an agenda for 2008 and 2009.   As a result, the next Administration will inherit a network of performance improvement executives – largely career public servants — who will be responsible for advocating improved performance and making results of agency programs publicly available.   The Executive Order does not enshrine this Administration’s management agenda or the PART.  Therefore, if the next Administration wants a different focus, it will have an administrative foundation upon which it could rapidly build and deploy a variety of new performance-oriented initiatives.