New in GovExec: Poor FITARA grades might be a good start

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My first piece for Government Executive, in which I argue that terrible FITARA grades (and they were terrible) may actually be a good start:

“In a Congress where any issue can easily be poisoned by partisan rancor, both [Transportation CIO Richard] McKinney and David Powner, the Government Accountability Office’s director of information technology management issues, made a point of recognizing the bipartisanship that’s often missing on the Hill. GAO helped the committee establish the criteria to give the grades, and Powner said, ‘sometimes you couldn’t tell who was in the majority or minority in terms of how they wanted to score [the agencies].’

“If you were writing a Hollywood script about this scenario, the plot might go like this: Government agencies struggle with IT, Congress passes legislation, Congress uses legislation to measure agencies, agencies get really lousy grades. Wouldn’t you write ‘Congress beats agencies over head with bad grades’ next?

“That didn’t happen, though. None of the Republicans at the hearing – [House Information Technology Subcommittee Chairman Will] Hurd [R-Tex.], [Oversight and Government Reform] Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, or Government Operations Subcommittee Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C. – wanted to use the grades to beat up on agency CIOs like McKinney, or the Obama administration, represented at the hearing by federal CIO Tony Scott.

“So two things may be happening here. And if Congress delivers on either – or both – of them, agencies could be really big winners.”

Read the whole story here.