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Transparency and the President’s Management Agenda

Peggy Garvin reported on the SLA Government Information Division blog that the Office of Management and Budget launched FedSpending.gov this past week.

“The website is intended to provide a searchable database of federal grants, contracts, loans, and other spending. This initial version fulfills a requirement in the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (PL 109-282), known as FFATA.”

The site is sparse right now, but it does have a PDF copy of the FFATA and its implementation schedule.

The OMB has been using e-government websites as a method of providing transparency, as seen with ExpectMore.gov and Results.gov.

The latter site is geared towards federal employees and aims to show how well government agencies are performing in relation to the President’s Management Agenda. It’s kind of a strange site, though. One of the boxes on the front page is entitled, “Don’t You Agree? Apply to You?” This reminds me of a subject heading from a Nigerian scam email for some reason.

I find the rating system for the Executive Branch Management Scorecard a bit silly:

  • Green for success,
  • Yellow for mixed results, and
  • Red for unsatisfactory.

The ratings are given for each agency at its highest level. This is understandable, but a classmate of mine pointed out that you’re not seeing how divisions of the agencies are performing. If you work for the IRS, you’re only seeing how the Treasury Department is doing on the whole. If you work for the USCIS, you’re only seeing how Homeland Security is performing. (Or not performing, if you look at the PDF of the December 2006 scorecard.)

I don’t know how much guidance each division receives on how to improve or maintain their scores, though. If you have any insights on this, please feel free to comment.

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