White House names Zients to lead reorg effort

Monday - 1/31/2011, 7:24am EST

By Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

The White House tapped two veteran staffers to lead the government reorganization project.

Office of Management and Budget deputy director for management and chief performance officer Jeffrey Zients and Lisa Brown, currently assistant to the President and staff secretary, will take on what could be the biggest restructuring effort in half a century.

Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, wrote in a administration's blog Sunday that Zients and Brown, previously served as co-chairwoman of the Agency Review Working Group for the Obama-Biden Transition Project, will initially focus on "trade and exports to see how we can better reform these functions to give American companies a leg up in the global economy."

President Obama called for a reorganization of the government is last week's State of the Union. It would be the first major reorganization of government in more than 50 years.

The administration is looking to Zients and Brown to usher the reorganization through Congress and the federal employee unions. Lawmakers took away the ability of the President to reorganize government without congressional approval in the 1980s.

"Jeff and Lisa will draw on the resources of OMB to launch and run this effort, and they will be reaching out to the business community, experts, those who run these programs, members of Congress, and a wide range of stakeholders and citizens to get their input about how government can be reformed to best work for them," Pfeiffer wrote. "I know that we all look forward to working with Jeff and Lisa on this important effort and to helping to create a better organized and more effective federal government."

As a part of his CPO and DDM duties, Zients has led the administration's Accountable Government Initiative (AGI). The goal of AGI is to make government more efficient and effective, open and responsive.

Pfeiffer wrote AGI has led fewer improper payments, the selling off of unused federal real property and buildings and the initial overhaul of how agencies buy manage and deploy technology.

"Over the past few decades, there has not been a business or large organization that has not rethought, retooled, and revamped how they did their job to respond to a growing, more competitive global economy and an ever-changing technology landscape," Pfeiffer wrote. "The President believes that we need to reform our government to make it better organized and better equipped to support American competitiveness. We want to ensure that we're aligning all of the resources we have into negotiating the best agreements, enforcing our trade rights, supporting our exporters and promoting their products."

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