Obama to SES: We need you


President Obama is urging the Senior Executive Service to embrace his accountability agenda, according to a memo released today.

“As the most senior managers in the federal government, you know how essential the work you and your colleagues do is to the nation,” Obama told more than 7,000 SES members. “You also are aware what happens when your best efforts are thwarted by outdated technologies and outmoded ways of doing business.

“You understand the consequences of accepting billions of dollars in waste as the cost of doing business and of allowing obsolete or under-performing programs to continue year after year.”

“Working together we can change that.”

The memo’s existence was first reported by The Washington Post.

Obama added that he has asked acting Office of Management and Budget Director Jeffrey Zients, who is also federal chief performance officer, for regular updates on progress in making government “more efficient and effective.”

In his own accompanying memo, Zients told SES members that “as a group, you set the tone and expectations for what the federal workforce can accomplish.

“For us to succeed in overcoming skepticism and bureaucratic inertia, we need you to spread the belief that performance improvements are not only critical, they are well within our reach.”

The administration has settled on six strategies–such as driving agencies’ top priorities, cutting waste, and attracting and motivating top talent–and will be tracking results on the web site, performance. gov. Now available to federal managers, the site will be opened to the public later this fall, Zients wrote.

Along with other members of the President’s Management Council, he said, “I will be following up with you regularly to review our progress and to get your input on where things are going well and where we need to make further improvements.”


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