Lets fix bureaucratic inefficiency with a new bureaucrat

"Obama taps performance officer, vows restraint

Nancy Killefer will work with federal agencies on performance standards " http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28538966

Let’s get that position a big budget as soon as possible. They are gonna need an army.

Because hey, we fixed homeland security issues with a whole new Department of Homeland Security.

And, as a bonus, Ms Killefer even looks like Mr Chertoff in the linked photo. Just as charismatic, anyway.

Do these people (Mr Obama in this particular case) never learn? Any takers on a bet about which budgets will actually get cut and which performance will actually improve in real life? I will make a bet that every agency put under a performance spotlight will be able to generate paper saying their performance improved. These people didn’t get to be bureaucrats and consultants (Is there a difference, except for the pay scale?) for nuttin’.

Am I completely confused on what the OMB is? http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/organization/role.html
Would Jim Nussle now (functionally) report to Ms Killeher? http://www.govexec.com/story_page.cfm?articleid=41733&dcn=todaysnews

Oh yeah: The points to be debated:

Is it gonna work? If/when it doesn’t, do we still credit Mr Obama with trying, even though all he did was add more bureaucracy?
And as a subtheme: Is this appointment an indication that Mr Obama thinks (in general) that more government is the means to fix current government–a la Mr Bush with that stupid stupid Department of Homeland Security nonsense?

If I have the whole thing wrong, just educate me here and move it to the Pit so I can be pitted for not understanding it properly.

He’s creating one new White House position, not a whole new department. Basically it sounds like she’s going to be a kind of special assistant to the President, tasked with communicating his “performance standards” to the various agencies. I don’t think anyone important is going to “report to her”.

Edited to add: Whether it will work or not is, as always, an open question.

You have the whole thing wrong.

The assorted government bureaucracies can drastically improve and regress in terms of effectiveness.

FEMA had been a mess under GHWB and his predecessors. Under Clinton, it became a very professional agency. GWB undid all that.

So your implication that it’s pointless to hire people to improve the performance of government agencies is bullshit.

There’s nothing like an ideologue who doesn’t let even the most recent history get in the way of his beliefs.

The question I have for Chief Pedant is, what do you think is the right way to combat bureaucratic underperformance?

I’m gonna take a WAG that he says we should just get rid of all the bureaucrats.

Maybe you should let him answer a question that was addressed to him before taking your WAG.

I disagree with the idea that all government agencies are inherently inefficient. There’s no proof of this and there’s strong evidence that government agencies can do their assigned duties efficiently. Ironically, it’s often people who claim government is inefficient who end up proving their theory right by taking a government job and doing it poorly.

So if government programs can work or not, then it’s a good idea to have them well supervised so they end up on the working side. I don’t know if Nancy Killefer is specifically the insdividual to do the job but there’s nothing wrong with the concept.

Yeah, and people hire CFOs to keep control of spending, even though they just cost more money. Haw, haw, how stupid. :rolleyes:

She has experience in this area both in government and in private industry, which is useful. I’m not sure if Chief Pedant thinks the government is optimally efficient now, or if he thinks it will get more efficient on its own. Or if he’d be happier if Obama said who gives a crap about productivity.

And let me be the first to ask: Why do you hate the President-elect? :smiley:

I am delighted Mr Obama is our new President and pleased, for the most part, at his approaches so far. My glasses are not so rosy-colored that I think everything he does is wonderful. I suspect he himself does not think he meets that standard.

I should have been more clear about my core annoyance with this appointment:
We already have a cabinet-level office whose role it is to oversee the activity of federal agencies. It already has a Director. It is already part of the Executive Branch and therefore (I assume) reports to the President. Here is the OMB’s mission statement, in case you did not have time to link to it:

"***OMB’s Mission **

OMB’s predominant mission is to assist the President in overseeing the preparation of the federal budget and to supervise its administration in Executive Branch agencies. In helping to formulate the President’s spending plans, OMB evaluates the effectiveness of agency programs, policies, and procedures, assesses competing funding demands among agencies, and sets funding priorities. OMB ensures that agency reports, rules, testimony, and proposed legislation are consistent with the President’s Budget and with Administration policies.

In addition, OMB oversees and coordinates the Administration’s procurement, financial management, information, and regulatory policies. In each of these areas, OMB’s role is to help improve administrative management, to develop better performance measures and coordinating mechanisms, and to reduce any unnecessary burdens on the public. *"

If OMB is not doing its job, fire the people who work at OMB and find some who will do the job. Or eliminate OMB and give the budget to Ms Killeher to manage. Or fire OMB’s Director, Mr Nussle.

The worst approach is hire new management to manage current management whose job it is to oversee other management.

So, to RTFirefly’s point that my “implication (is) that it’s pointless to hire people to improve the performance of government agencies is bullshit,” I am not making that point. I am suggesting that we already have an entire bureaucratic structure in place to do precisely that, and to do it for Mr Obama.

What’s pointless is hiring some else to oversee them. Or to do the same thing. And it’s particularly irritating to me to do that when the problem you are addressing is waste in government! For me this is a classic case of more government not solving the problem–more government is the problem.

And every Federal agency also has comptrollers, management officers, and general counsels. And yet, to track down waste, fraud, and abuse, the government expanded about 30 years ago to create inspectors general to focus on precisely those issues.

It sounds like this is going to be a small organization within the White House that will provide advice on how to cut waste and make operations more efficient. The organization has no statutory authority, no more than most advisers to the President lack any sort of authority in law. One might as well get one’s panties in a bunch to realize that the President has his own advisers for domestic policy, even though there are cabinet departments that have jurisdiction over those matters.

I got confused, I guess. I was thinking things would change.

… and that is the entirety of your riposte? Well played, sir.

I wonder if we’d get better government if we kept people who think government is the problem out of government positions? It seems like we’ve been engaging in the moral equivalent of hiring terrorists to protect the homeland. Surely some large Liberal university has run a study on the effects of seeding gavernment with government haters?

You missed the point by chopping up the quote like that. He was saying that in this case, more government is the problem. He’s not saying that in is true in general. If you’re looking at eliminating waste, then yes, more government is the problem if you already have an entire agency whose charter is do precisely that.

I’m just not at all convinced that this is a case of adding more government. The news article mentioned one new person being added to the White House.

(Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the Director of the OMB a political appointment? That would mean that Nussle isn’t going to have that job anyway.)

A $70M agency with nearly 500 employees, to be more specific.

As a taxpayer I am annoyed at what I see is the knee-jerk reaction of nearly all politicians: hire more people; create new positions; get another layer of management to fix the current layers.

If you want to convince me that you are serious about waste in govenment, come on in and get rid of some people. Cut some budgets. I’m betting every agency getting its performance managed and reviewed will hire some new people to get those evaluations done. Nice.

But I don’t see a lot of debate about this, so I’ll let if drift away and resurrect it when it’s time to say I told you so.

First of all, I will be willing to bet money that this does not indicate any substantial increase in the size of the White House staff. It is far more likely that the budget and number of employees of the Executive Office of the President is going to remain the same, only those people will be shuffled around. (For example, instead of a large faith-based initiatives office in the West Wing, we’ll have some watchdogs in their place.)

And I’m betting that it will be contractors hired to do the evaluations. And I have zero doubt I’ll win that bet. Moreover, you probably don’t realize that, if you except the large stimulus package that Obama is proposing, the side of the domestic discretionary budget (eg, education, environment, transportation, interior, and just about everything else other than defense, foreign affairs, and homeland security) has grown at a rate somewhat less than inflation over the last 5 or 6 years.

I can’t wait.

When we need to streamline and cut waste in companies I’ve worked for, we get a mandate from about to cut X% from the budget. We piss and moan, but there is always fat to be cut from large organizations. Always. And I’ve been thru these types of things when some liaison is brought in to “tie things together and find efficiencies”. These people are given lip service and laughed at, and then people go about their normal business.

I dunno , this position screams trouble shooter and not overseer for some reason.


Well, Bush got rid of most of bureaucrats watching over Wall Street & the financial industry. How’s that working out for you?

Which reminds me, those bureaucrats running the Social Security Agency seem to be doing fine, compared to Wall Street. Remember how Bush et. al. were pushing for privatizing Social Security, so all our Social Security money could be put into the stock market, to earn so much better returns. It didn’t happen (thank heaven), and none of those Republicans seems to be talking about that any more.