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Monday, November 13, 2006

Democratic leaders may be wary of president’s management agenda

Elements of the president’s management agenda, never fully embraced by the Republican Congress, could be endangered under a Democratic Congress, some information technology industry analysts say.

“The new Congress doesn’t too much care about or even support the president’s management agenda,” Kevin Plexico, executive vice president of operations at INPUT, a market research firm, said at a Nov. 9 conference on government IT spending.

With federal employees’ groups and their legislative allies empowered, Plexico and other analysts singled out competitive sourcing, an administration effort to let private contractors compete for federal jobs like data collection and administrative support, as particularly vulnerable.

Linda Brooks Rix, a former Office of Personnel Management official who now heads a human resources consultancy that competes for federal human resources work, said “the election will have a dramatic impact on what gets outsourced.”

Rix argued certain “lines of business” — back-office functions like financial management and human resources that the Office of Management and Budget is pushing to consolidate across agencies — could face trouble when Congress weighs their renewal in February.

Congress has never fully funded the program and has remained unenthusiastic, in part because cost savings have not appeared, Rix argued. And Democrats will be even more wary, she said.

OMB spokeswoman Andrea Wuebker said both political parties want to improve program performance and agency management. “We will continue to work with Democrats and Republicans to achieve this goal through implementation of the president’s management agenda,” she said.

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