This document was downloaded and archived from  on May 28, 2001.

  Daily Briefing  

February 3, 1999

Performance-based organizations back in style

By Brian Friel

Performance-based organizations made a comeback in President Clinton's fiscal 2000 budget proposal.

Congress jump-started the idea of performance-based organizations last year when it turned the Education Department's office of student financial assistance into the first PBO. Until then, Congress had ignored several agency requests to become PBOs.

In a PBO—a management concept envisioned by Vice President Al Gore's National Partnership for Reinventing Government three years ago—government executives are given broad exemptions from federal procurement and personnel rules in exchange for tough performance standards. The idea is that some federal programs can perform better if they are run more like private companies.

The Patent and Trademark Office, the Defense Commissary Agency, the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., the U.S. Mint and the air traffic services division of the Federal Aviation Administration have all sought congressional approval to become PBOs in recent years. Those candidates will again seek PBO status in Congress this year, the Clinton budget said.

Four additional agencies will also try to become PBOs this year, the budget said. They are the Seafood Inspection Service, the Rural Telephone Bank, the National Technical Information Service and the Federal Lands Highway Program.

An administration official said the Mint came close last year to becoming a PBO. Congressional and Treasury Department officials recognize that the Mint could operate more effectively if it was a performance-based entity, the official said.

The official said this year's nine PBO candidates have gained confidence because Congress turned the student financial assistance office into a PBO.

The Education Department did not originally suggest that the financial aid office become a PBO. A House staffer borrowed the idea from Gore's reinvention team and drafted PBO legislation for the Education office.

Comments about this site may be sent to the UNT Libraries
Government Documents Department.