Beth Cobert: Agencies are meeting performance goals. (Mike Morones)
The Obama administration has “met or achieved notable progress” on agency performance targets set two years ago, according to Beth Cobert, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget.
The goals, published in the administration's fiscal 2013 budget request, outlined 103 specific objectives for large agencies to meet, accompanied by quarterly progress reports posted on the website performance.gov.
To save money, for example, the Treasury Department was supposed to increase the number of benefit payments, tax collections and other transactions handled electronically instead of by paper. The number of paper benefit transactions fell from 131 million in 2010 to 39 million last year, while the volume of electronic tax collections rose from 85 percent to 97 percent, according to an OMB summary, which did not specify how much of that change occurred in the past two years.
Agencies are also supposed to collaborate on 15 "cross-agency" goals that span standard bureaucratic boundaries. Among them is boosting exports to other countries. In its summary, OMB credited that initiative with helping to push exports to a record level of $2.3 trillion last year.
And while the Commerce Department's Patent and Trademark Office did not hit its target of cutting the backlog of patent applications from 670,000 to 529,000, it did reduce the number to 580,000, said Pat Gallagher, director of the department's National Institute of Standards and Technology, who is also temporarily handling the duties of Commerce's deputy secretary.
The White House will publish a new set of goals in its 2015 budget request scheduled for release March 4.