District of Columbia:

Performance Report Reflects Progress and Opportunities for Improvement

GAO-02-588: Published: Apr 15, 2002. Publicly Released: Apr 15, 2002.

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This report examines the progress the District of Columbia has made with its fiscal year 2001 performance accountability report and highlights continuing challenges facing our nation's capital. The District must submit a performance accountability plan with goals for the coming fiscal year and, at the end of the fiscal year, a performance accountability report on the extent to which it achieved these goals. GAO found that the District's Performance Accountability Report for Fiscal Year 2001 provided a more complete picture of its performance and made progress in complying with statutory reporting requirements by using a consistent set of goals. This allowed the District to measure and report progress toward the goals in its 2001 performance plan. Specifically, it reported information on the level of performance achieved, the titles of managers and their supervisors responsible for each goal, and described the status of certain court orders. The District has made progress over the last three years in its performance accountability reports and established positive direction for enhancements in court orders, its fiscal year 2003 performance based budgeting pilots, and performance goals and measures.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: This recommendation, now closed, had remained open because DC did not issue a PAR in March 2006 for FY 2005. However, DC did issue a Performance and Accountability Report for FY 2006 in March 2007. A visual inspection shows that the PAR has a section in the very front on "qualifying court orders in effect," including the name of the case, the summary of the orders, and the summary of the status of the case. Importantly, DC establish a criterion for determining the types of court orders for which it would provide specific compliance information in future PAR's, namely those court orders that "impose systematic program requirements and over which the court has retained jurisdiction to monitor compliance." This is consistent with recommendation and also our finding in GAO-04-940, the review of DC's 2003 PAR, which stated that "The District Reported Actions Taken to Comply with Court Orders," as required by law. As in GAO-04-940, the 2006 PAR provides a detailed description of the summary of the orders and the summary of the status.

    Recommendation: In order to more fully comply with the Federal Payment Reauthorization Act of 1994, which requires the District to provide a statement of the status of any court orders applicable to the government of the District of Columbia during the year and the steps taken by the government to comply with such orders, the mayor should ensure that the District establish objective criteria to determine the types of court orders for which it will provide specific compliance information for future performance accountability reports. In establishing objective criteria, the factors could include the cost, time, and magnitude of effort involved in complying with these court orders. If the District government has not acted to comply with the court orders it should include an explanation as to why no action was taken. In addition, the District should provide summary information related to other applicable court orders in its performance accountability reports.

    Agency Affected: District of Columbia

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: This recommendation remained open because DC did not issue a Performance and Accountability Report in March 2006 for FY2005. However, it did issue such a report in March 2007 for FY 2006. A review of this document shows a listing of agencies and PAR reporting status (early pages), a detailed description by agency of their performance goals and measures for significant activities, the agencies' performance against those measures (targets). However, at this point (4/3/07), the PAR had no linkage to expenditure information and is not expected to.

    Recommendation: The Mayor of the District of Columbia should also ensure that future performance accountability reports include goals and performance measures for the District's significant activities and link related expenditure information to help ensure transparency and accountability.

    Agency Affected: District of Columbia

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: This recommendation remained open because DC did not issue a PAR in March 2006 for FY2005; however, it did issue a PAR March 2007 for FY2006. This recommendation is closed/implemented because DC has acted to include information in the PAR regarding the extent to which performance measures and data have been verified and validated and discussed strategies to address known data limitations. Specifically, DC has begun to implement internal and external reviews by the OIG, GW University, and internal Center for Innovation and Reform to promote validity in performance ratings. Moreover, the City Administrator now maintains ratings data and validates the accuracy of calculations and ensures that ratings are based on sufficient information.

    Recommendation: The Mayor of the District of Columbia should also ensure that future performance accountability reports should include information on the extent to which its performance measures and data have been verified and validated and discuss strategies to address known data limitations.

    Agency Affected: District of Columbia

 

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