Few leaders in government have fixed terms. Fewer still have 15-year fixed terms. Indeed, maybe only one does – the Comptroller General of the United States. That person leads the Government Accountability Office, and the office’s current occupant, Gene Dodaro, has a four-prong plan for the remainder of his term.
Dodaro has been Comptroller General for about 10 years, and has been at the agency for more than 47 overall. “I came right out of college in 1973,” Dodaro told Government Matters. “GAO was in the midst of its evolution from financial management issues being our primary focus, to a focus on performance auditing, which is what we’re known for today.”
The transition positioned his agency to influence not just money matters, but operational efforts in information technology, science, defense and more. “We started to move away from not only looking at individual programs, but the entire management operations and infrastructure of agencies,” Dodaro said. “We were advising the Congress on some governmentwide management reforms like the Clinger-Cohen act that set up CIOs across the government, the Government Management Performance Act. Most recently we’ve been adding additional disciplines as our mission has changed. We’ve added actuary scientists, computer security people [and] science and technology.”
Dodaro has four major initiatives for the remaining third of his term. “I set out during my tenure to do several things,” Dodaro told Government Matters. “One was to make sure GAO was always postured to address the most important national issues facing the country. Secondly, I want to continue to focus on our high-risk series which we’ve had in place since 1990. Third, I want to continue to press for the government to have a plan to get on a more fiscally sustainable long-term path. And lastly, I would say I’ve been focused on succession planning at the GAO to make sure we have a workforce that’s postured for the 21st century.”
GAO has finished at or near the top of a number of rankings in the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Surveys. “I’m very proud of the fact that we’ve been a Best Place to Work [in the Federal Government] for the entire time of my tenure, and we’ve been number one rated among midsize agencies in our support of diversity issues.”
Dodaro told Government Matters his is a “dedicated talented workforce. That’s been very dynamic and central to our involvement [in issues of national importance]. Our workforce has been tremendous, and it’s a testimony to both past and current GAO workers.”