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Monday, November 06, 2006

From the Top Echelons, a Look Beyond the Elections

Top policymakers who oversee federal management issues talk all the time in the privacy of their offices and are rarely seen in public together. But yesterday, five officials appeared together in public to discuss internal workings of the government.

They shared no secrets, talking in general terms about the urgency of reshaping the federal workforce, cleaning up the government's financial books and pulling the plug on duplicative technology systems.

It was, for the most part, a comfortable venue for the five -- four from the Office of Management and Budget and one from the Office of Personnel Management. They took questions from a lunchtime audience of about 200 current and former federal officials, scholars and public administration experts.

Karen Evans , the OMB's technology chief, said she would find it hard to believe that the next president wouldn't care about privacy and cybersecurity issues. She promised to keep pushing agencies to shut down overlapping computer networks and produce long-term savings.

Robert Shea , who has headed up a project to rate federal programs based on their performance, said he would urge the next White House to use a scorecard to track agencies' progress toward management goals.

Joining Shea, Evans and Dennett were Linda Combs , who handles financial management policy at the OMB, and Solly Thomas , the acting associate director at the OPM who oversees efforts to hold agencies accountable for managing their workforces.

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