Holding Government Bureaucracies Accountable

By Bernard Rosen | Go to book overview
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8 New Initiatives for Improving Accountability

Despite the number and redundancy of accountability mechanisms, the belief is prevalent among legislators, public administrators, and scholars that government bureaucracies are not as effective as they could be because of deficiencies in policies and processes for holding them accountable. Some go as far as to charge that government bureaucracies are out of control. This chapter focuses on developments where new initiatives offer very good possibilities for significant improvements in performance, results, and accountability.


On March 3, 1993, as President Clinton initiated the National Performance Review (NPR) under the direction of the vice president, he said, "Our goal is to make the entire federal government both less expensive and more efficient, and to change the culture of our national bureaucracy away from complacency and entitlement toward initiative and empowerment. We intend to redesign, to reinvent, to reinvigorate the entire national government."1

Two hundred fifty federal employees were organized into teams for an intense six-month effort to examine ten federal departments and ten federal agencies with respect to management issues common to all agencies, particularly personnel management, financial management, and procurement. The president also directed each department secretary to organize reinvention teams and create "Reinvention Laboratories where experiments in new


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Holding Government Bureaucracies Accountable


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