Observations on the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Fiscal Year 1999 Performance Report and Fiscal Year 2001 Performance Plan

RCED-00-210R: Published: Jun 30, 2000. Publicly Released: Aug 1, 2000.

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Stanley J. Czerwinski
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) fiscal year (FY) 1999 performance report and FY 2001 performance plan required by Government Performance and Resulsts Act.

GAO noted that: (1) overall, FEMA's FY 1999 annual performance report shows that the agency is making progress in addressing its key outcomes, as the agency generally met its performance goals; (2) however, in some cases, the agency did not explain why some performance goals that support the outcomes were not met, nor describe a strategy designed to help the agency meet those goals in the future; (3) FEMA also did not typically provide an explanation for why certain goals and measures were revised between fiscal years 1999, 2000, and 2001; (4) while the reasons for some changes were apparent, such as increasing the performance measure targets for subsequent fiscal years, the reasons for other changes could not be determined; (5) however, the agency is making a concerted effort to manage itself for results, through the development and the implementation of a quarterly reporting system that tracks its progress in meeting its performance goals and measures; (6) agency officials stated that the system is used to influence senior management decision-making within the agency; (7) additionally, the agency's FY 2001 annual performance plan shows a number of improvements the agency is making; (8) for example, the agency is increasing its use of baselines for measuring future progress in reaching a number of the agency's goals, demonstrating that FEMA is getting better at capturing performance data; and (9) however, FEMA could strengthen the FY 2001 annual performance plan by better identifying any significant limitations that potentially affect the credibility of data used to measure its performance and by providing additional descriptions of the procedures the agency uses to verify and validate performance data.

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