Administrators: Accountable for What? / 7 after major struggles within the House and the Senate, and between the two on more than one occasion, was subject to several interpretations, any one of which would be contrary to the position of some individuals who found the language in the law acceptable. The fact is that if Congress had insisted on eliminating all ambiguity, it is doubtful whether appropriations for the Department would have been approved in some years. Yet the ad- ministrator is charged with carrying out the law as intended with regard to the use of funds for abortions. Across the board it is certainly the intent of Congress and the president that laws be carried out in the most efficient and economical manner. Ef- fective implementation of public policy requires not only comprehensive planning and competent execution, but also systematic evaluation to facil- itate timely corrective action. When implementation involves massive con- tracting out, assuring efficiency and economy may be more complex. Some policies and programs are particularly vulnerable to inefficiency and corruption during their implementation. New programs that involve spending large sums of money in relatively short periods of time to achieve goals that are quite general provide fertile ground for poor productivity, inefficiency, and even dishonesty. The strongest signals sent to administra- tors by the president and Congress at the beginning of such programs call for moving ahead quickly. Often in the first year a key question is whether the money is being spent at the anticipated rate. There is little or nothing in most legislation authorizing and funding new multibillion-dollar social and defense programs to evidence a clear concern on the part of either the president or Congress that the need for speed should be balanced with the need for integrity, efficiency, and high productivity. Yet administrators of civil and military programs can testify from firsthand experience that years after the programs were launched, they were held accountable on these grounds. Rarely have laws included specific provisions for early, continuing, and systematic review by legislative bodies or within the executive branch. However, a 1993 law, the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), responds to that need. When fully implemented by federal agen- cies in the year 2000, the possibilities for making laws work as intended will improve.5 By requiring agencies to undertake strategic planning, set performance goals, and measure and report performance, the opportunities for improved accountability are enhanced. (GPRA is discussed more spe- cifically in Chapter 8.) EXERCISING LAWFUL AND SENSIBLE DISCRETION In his excellent book Discretionary Justice, Kenneth Culp Davis recog- nizes that administrative discretion is indispensable to effective government but he argues that public officials now have too much discretion, and that
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