The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Legacy Management (LM) has completed a high performing organization (HPO) plan for fiscal year (FY) 2017 through FY 2021. This internal planning document identifies management excellence and program performance goals LM will strive to meet over the next five years. The plan includes a summary of LM’s performance in meeting HPO goals and milestones that were set in May 2012, when the office published its HPO proposal for FY 2012 through FY 2016.
LM met entirely, or partially, 35 of the 40 goals and milestones in its previous proposal. A noteworthy program performance goal for its second HPO included doubling the number of LM sites in beneficial reuse. A critical management excellence goal was maintaining a safety record better than the DOE average, which LM met four out of five years. LM also continued to achieve an important annual efficiency goal to reduce the cost of long-term surveillance and maintenance (LTS&M) at its sites by 2 percent or more per year.
Reducing the groundwater, surface water, sediment, and direct-radiation environmental monitoring programs, as well as leachate monitoring at the On-Site Disposal Facility, while maintaining environmental surveillance at appropriate levels-—with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval—at the Fernald Preserve in Ohio, are examples of LTS&M cost savings implemented in January 2017. The reductions in the monitoring programs were also approved by Ohio EPA and had support of Fernald Community Alliance members. These actions will save LM approximately $88,500 annually through FY 2025.
More than a decade ago, LM conducted a two-year review to streamline its organization. The review used the tools and techniques in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-76, Performance of Commercial Activities, and the high performance organization principles contained in the U.S. Government Accountability Office Commercial Activities Panel report. As part of the process, LM documented management excellence and program performance goals in an HPO proposal that resulted in a finely tuned organization with better-defined mission objectives and program efficiencies. As a result, in 2007 OMB designated LM as the second HPO organization in the federal government. LM’s first HPO proposal covered FY 2007 through FY 2011 and its second covered FY 2012 through FY 2016.
An important distinction between the FY 2017 through FY 2021 HPO document and the previous two is that the new HPO is a plan rather than a proposal. Although LM provided a copy of the plan to OMB, OMB no longer formally recognizes an HPO designation. However, LM Director Carmelo Melendez still sees value in maintaining HPO standards. “Continuing to use HPO tools and striving to perform as an HPO is a valuable means for LM to identify ways of being more effective and efficient, and hold ourselves accountable for major program accomplishments,” Melendez stated.
Another distinction between this HPO and the previous ones are new, ambitious performance goals related to two of LM’s most recent responsibilities. One responsibility is a program to verify and validate defense-related uranium mine sites (also known as DRUM sites). This initiative grew out of a 2014 Report to Congress on DRUM sites. The other responsibility is to provide greater public access to features at the three DOE sites that comprise the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. LM serves as the DOE liaison to the U.S. National Park Service and is transitioning into management, operations, maintenance, and preservation activities at the park in coordination with other DOE organizations.
Because the 2007 HPO proposal was essentially a performance contract with OMB, LM reported progress toward meeting its goals using Post Competition Accountability Reports (PCAR). LM will continue to prepare PCAR as an internal controls tool. Each PCAR for the FY 2017 through FY 2021 HPO plan will be posted at https://energy.gov/lm/program-information/lm-annual-post-competition-accountability-reports.