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Friday, February 28, 2014

Watchdog: Government Still Has Big Financial Management Problems

The usefulness of the government’s consolidated financial statements, though improved in recent years, remains hampered by “material weaknesses,” primarily at the departments of Defense and Health and Human Services, that prevent auditors from rendering an audit opinion, the Government Accountability Office reported.
In its mandatory audit of the government’s fiscal 2013 and fiscal 2012 consolidated financial statements released Thursday, the congressional watchdog pointed to three issues affecting the government’s estimate of its assets, liabilities and costs that urgently need improvement. They include “serious financial management problems” at the Defense Department; a governmentwide inability to adequately account for and reconcile intragovernmental activity and balances between federal entities; and an “ineffective process” for preparing the consolidated financial statements.
GAO noted that the Pentagon accounts for about 33 percent of the government’s total assets and about 16 percent of fiscal 2013 spending, but the agency has been given a “disclaimer of opinion” on its consolidated financial statements. Similarly, uncertainties in the growth rate of Medicare and Social Security, which account for 68.8 percent of the value of future expenditures in excess of future revenue, are responsible for HHS’ disclaimer of opinion.
Further crimping the government’s broader ability to get a grip on finances is an inability to determine the full extent of improper payments and actions to prevent them; unresolved information security control deficiencies; and effective management of tax collection activities, GAO said.

-Charles S. Clark, GovExec.com

Thursday, February 13, 2014

HUD's Danzig heading to OMB to lead performance office

Lisa Danzig is joining the Office of Management and Budget as its associate director for personnel and performance.

An OMB official confirmed Danzig is coming to the agency from the Department of Housing and Urban Development where she was the director of strategic planning and management since 2012. She recently moved out the director's role and into a special adviser's position. Henry Hensley now is the acting director in HUD's office, according to its website.

The official didn't say when Danzig would start at OMB.

Danzig replaces Shelley Metzenbaum, who left the administration in May and now is the president of the Volcker Alliance, an organization to help rebuild trust in government.

Dustin Brown has been the acting associate director since Metzenbaum left.

At OMB, Danzig will oversee the day-to-day operations of the administration's performance management initiative, including the cross-agency priority goals and the agency-by-agency establishment of high priority goals.

During her time at HUD, Danzig helped further the use of performance data to make decisions through the HUDStat program. Under HUDStat, senior officials (reviewed performance data and make decisions to improve or change key mission programs.

In fact, Performance.gov uses a HUD example to illustrate data-driven reviews.
Danzig also worked for the City of New York's Department of Housing, Preservation and Development as the assistant commissioner of the Strategic Planning Group. Additionally she spent two years in the private sector working for management consulting firm Katzenbach Partners.

-Jason Miller, FederalNewsRadio.com