Last February, the Obama administration used its fiscal 2011 budget request to roll out more than 120 “high-priority performance goals” for federal agencies to meet.
Twelve months later, how are all those agencies doing?
You won’t find out from the White House’s FY12 request.
“Significant progress has been made on some priority goals, while weaknesses have been identified and are being addressed in others,” the document says. It then cites a couple of the cheerier examples—such as the Energy Department’s weatherizing 295,000 homes—but with no context and few details. The agency-by-agency list of goals posted on the White House web site doesn’t reflect the fact that some objectives—such as those for NASA–have changed since last year.
The updated performance info was left out of the latest budget request because the information will be posted online, Office of Management and Budget spokeswoman Moira Mack said in an email.
That point could be another couple of months away, however.
Although OMB has been tracking agencies’ progress on performance.gov since last summer, access to that password-protected web site is generally restricted to federal employees. In September, federal Chief Performance Officer Jeffrey Zients predicted that it would open to the public later that fall. That step is now expected by this summer, Mack said. The administration plans to make only “portions” of the site available to Congress and the public, according to the budget request.
That’s because performance.gov contains “sensitive information” Mack said. OMB is also making changes based on feedback from stakeholders and to meet the requirements of recently passed Government Performance and Results Modernization Act, she said.
Meanwhile, for a White House that promised unprecedented transparency, its performance management system continues to look exceedingly opaque.