The White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney announced earlier today 'Phase 1' of the Trump administration’s plans for a massive government reorganization, a move meant to increase the efficiency and productivity of the federal government.
In a memo published here, Mulvaney detailed plans to rescind or modify many of the requirements placed on federal agencies by the OMB. The office’s logic is rather straightforward: far too often agencies are required to spend more time and energy complying with menial tasks, rather than spending time allocating taxpayer dollars to effectively and efficiently carry out their missions.
From administration to administration, agencies have been asked to respond to hundreds of guidance documents related to management areas such as information technology (IT), human capital, acquisition, financial management, and real property. Too often, burdensome tasks have piled up without consideration of whether the requirements collectively make sense. In many cases, agencies are asked to spend more time and resources complying with low-value activities versus allocating taxpayer dollars to meet their core agency mission.
In support of the President's Management Agenda and the belief that the Federal Government can - and should- operate more effectively and efficiently, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is taking action to identify low-value, duplicative, and obsolete activities that can be ended. Through this Memorandum, OMB begins providing relief to agencies by rolling back these requirements and allowing those who know their agencies best - agency managers - manage operations, adopt best practices, and find the best way possible to reduce costs and minimize staff hours responding to duplicative and burdensome reporting requirements.
As the Daily Caller reports, a very simple review of just OMB directives revealed "59 redundant, obsolete or unnecessary" guidelines that agencies are required to comply with on an annual basis.
“There are a lot of places where the government is so complicated that previous administrations didn’t realize what the agencies were already doing,” Mulvaney said. “So an agency might be required to give a piece of information to Congress. The administration might not know that so they layer on another requirement on that agency to give the that same information to the administration. That is wasteful and it takes a lot of time.
OMB isn’t just asking other agencies to figure out where they can make cuts. The office has already found 59 redundant, obsolete or unnecessary memorandum that will be removed from all federal agencies. For example, agencies have been required since 2011 to develop a 10-15-page proposal to justify new contracts over $50 million that duplicated existing ones. Now, under new OMB direction, agencies are using a collaborative process that requires a simple 3-page proposal.
Of course, Mulvaney's review was prompted by a Trump executive order signed back in March aimed at cutting waste in the federal government. Trump signed the measure in the Oval Office on March 13th and told reporters at the time that it called for a “thorough examination of every executive department and agency” to find out “where money is being wasted [and] how services can be improved.”
Mulvaney's overall review process is planned to be carried out in three phases which are expected to be completed sometime around February 2018.
Thursday’s announcement is the first part of a three-phase process of the OMB’s effort to reorganize the government.
The first phase will conclude on June 30, when agencies will report back to the OMB regarding how they want to reorganize. Effectively, what requirements (reports, procedures, etc.) they decided are an inefficient use of their time and money.
The second phase will come on September 30. Agencies will be required then to turn in their budget proposal and their final recommendations for reorganization.
The final phase comes in February 2018, with the final government-wide reorganization plan is slated for release.
Imagine that, someone actually considering effectiveness and efficiency metrics in drafting government regulations?
Mulvaney's full memo can be viewed here: