District of Columbia Government:

Performance Report's Adherence to Statutory Requirements

GGD-00-107: Published: Apr 14, 2000. Publicly Released: Apr 14, 2000.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed whether the District of Columbia's annual performance report contained all the information required by law and, if not, why. This report transmits GAO's comments on the Mayor's performance report for fiscal year (FY) 1999, which was due on March 1, 2000, but was issued on March 7, 2000.

GAO noted that: (1) the Mayor's performance report does not contain the following required information for any of the 542 agency goals that GAO identified in the plan: (a) actual performance compared with two levels of planned performance; and (b) titles of the management employee and immediate supervisor most responsible for achieving each goal; (2) the Mayor could not comply with the requirement to compare actual performance with two levels of planned performance because the Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority's plan did not provide the two levels; (3) however, for 82 of the 542 goals, the Mayor's report does compare performance during the year with the one level of planned performance described in the Authority's plan; (4) of those 82 goals from the plan, the Mayor's report shows that 51 (62 percent) were met; (5) the report does not contain actual performance data for the remaining 460 goals; (6) the report does not describe, as required, the status of, or the steps taken to comply with, any of the court orders pertaining to the 12 civil actions concerning activities of the District government during FY 1999; (7) given the serious performance problems facing the District when the Mayor took office in January 1999, it is reasonable to expect that several cycles of planning and reporting will be needed to achieve all of the benefits that Congress envisioned when it passed this important law; and (8) the law's general approach requiring the District government to establish performance goals and then report on actual performance, if followed, can provide the District government with a disciplined foundation for improving its performance over time.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On July 7, 2004, GAO issued GAO-04-940. During this engagement, among other things, GAO followed up on improvements made to D.C.'s performance accountability report, mandated by the Federal Payment Reauthorization Act of 1994. As a result of this work, GAO found that D.C.'s report is substantially in compliance with statutory requirements. In report GGD-00-107 (April 14, 2000), GAO found that D.C.'s fiscal year 1999 report did not compare actual performance with two levels of planned performance for any of the 542 goals in the plan, because the plan did not contain two levels of planned performance for any goal. In fact, the plan only compared performance for 82 goals at one level of performance. However, in November 2000, the Congress enacted a law (P.L. 106-449) that changed the deadline for report submission and eliminated the requirement for two different levels of reporting. This change established a new criterion for D.C.'s performance accountability reports that D.C. has met; specifically, in July 2004, GAO found that D.C. reported actual performance for almost all the goals of the agencies and provided adequate explanations for those cases where data were missing or unavailable. Regarding the timeliness of performance reporting, GAO found that D.C. has taken actions to ensure timely reporting. Specifically, by October 2004, the City plans to (1) implement a new Argus system--an online budget development and performance reporting system that would enable the city to conduct performance analyses and data management, (2) allow for monthly performance monitoring and enhance data collection oversight, and (3) enable city agencies to prepare budget requests based on actual program costs. Importantly, Argus would reduce the amount of manual tracking of performance data, allowing reports to be compiled faster. A D.C. program analyst confirmed that Argus, which has been largely installed already, includes a scorekeeping component that would include all of D.C.'s performance measures and help the city to report to the Congress on time. The reporting system, she said, was intended to help D.C. meet its reporting deadlines.

    Recommendation: The Mayor of the District of Columbia should take the actions necessary to ensure that future performance plans include goals with two levels of planned performance for all District agencies and are issued no later than the law requires.

    Agency Affected: District of Columbia

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to Boris Kachura of GAO's Strategic Issues Team, who just completed a follow-on review, all parts of the recommendation, except one, were either superceded by a new law or satisfactorily implemented. The one exception is the part that says reports should address each goal in the performance plan. Mr. Kachura said that the District of Columbia's latest performance report addressed each goal in a subsequent plan, not the original plan as the law specified.

    Recommendation: The Mayor of the District of Columbia should take the actions necessary to ensure that future performance reports comply with the law's provisions to: (1) address each goal in the performance plan; (2) compare actual performance with two levels of planned performance; (3) provide the titles of responsible management employees; and (4) describe the status of, and actions taken to comply with, court orders applicable to the District government.

    Agency Affected: District of Columbia


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