Federal Manager's Daily Report

It is often unclear how to apply the Government Performance

and Results Act to areas where federal and state governments


overlap such as the environment, transportation and education,

says Shelley H. Metzenbaum, a visiting professor at the

Maryland School of Public Affairs and author of a report

looking at how certain federal agencies manage for results

in “multiplayer” environments.

“Strategies for Using State Information: Measuring and

Improving Program Performance,” asks how federal agencies

can set goals, measures and performance targets — and be

held accountable by Congress for meeting them — in policy

areas where the federal government is just one of many


The Environmental Protection Agency’s solution is the National

Environmental Performance Partnership System which overlays a

dozen federal laws. Under the NEPPS performance is assessed

not according to whether states follow through with certain

activities, but according to agreed upon goals and state

measurement requirements.

That means performance is based on actual environmental

measurements rather than deciding whether states carried out

certain activities — and EPA encourages state leaders to do

that in their own program management arenas. EPA and states

now agree on setting measures for state performance and a

legislative change allows states to combine federal funds

for meeting state problems.

The system is not perfect, says Metzenbaum, pointing out that

EPA and states need to sort out how to organize and analyze

state performance information so that it is more useful all

around, and in such a way that state leaders fully commit to

the NEPPS framework.