Insights into the CPO role

By Brian Drew
Internet Editor,

Federal News Radio has been telling you about the idea of a chief performance officer. While no one has the job yet, many have an idea of what they’d like to see, especially some former officials from the Office of Management and Budget.

Clay Johnson, former deputy director for management at OMB, talked about the role of the chief performance officer on In-Depth with Francis Rose.

“I think having a chief performance officer is a good idea,” says Johnson. “As long as the recognition is that the person that has to make the performance happen is the cabinet secretary.”


Johnson thinks that the White House should take a more active role in holding cabinet-level officers accountable.

My understanding is that what’s the chief performance officer is going to do. The person would technically have the job that I had, the Deputy Director for Management, but would have a larger portfolio. As I understand it, it would be the instrument by which you held agencies for doing all of this management stuff, but then also it would be an expanded responsibility to hold agencies accountable for implementing their new policies.

Johnson adds that the keys to success for holding agencies are clear; having a clear definition of success, a clear plan, accountability and a lot of transparency.

“Transparency moves mountains,” he says. “It just makes so much happen, and any attempt to manage performance and create accountability has to include large amounts of transparency.”


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