Calling it one of the most important appointments he will make, President-elect Barack Obama on Jan. 7, 2009, named Nancy Killefer as the nation's first chief performance officer.
Remember during the campaign when Obama repeatedly said that he would scour the budget line by line, eliminate things that don't work, and improve the things that do? Well, that will, in part, be Killefer's job.
"I will be instructing members of my Cabinet and key members of their staffs to meet with (Killefer) soon after we take office, and on a regular basis thereafter, to discuss how they can run their agencies with greater efficiency, transparency and accountability," Obama said in the Jan. 7 news conference.
"I will also see to it that we apply these principles of budget reform to the economic recovery and investment plan," Obama said. "This plan will call for dramatic investments to revive our flagging economy, save or create 3 million jobs, mostly in the private sector, and lay a solid foundation for future growth.
"In order to make these investments that we need, we'll have to cut the spending that we don't, and I'll be relying on (Killefer) to help guide that process."
Killefer is a senior director at the management-consulting firm McKinsey & Co.'s Washington, D.C. office, and served as assistant secretary of the treasury in the Clinton administration.
Said Killefer: "I know from my experience, bringing about change in the private and public sectors, that government has the capacity to deliver services more efficiently and effectively. I have seen it done.
"And I have seen it important to work across bureaucratic boundaries. By that, I mean to get different parts of government working together to deliver services that consumers, its citizens, deserve.
"The people who deliver those services, the government employees themselves, will be central to this effort. I am convinced that the success of every policy of this administration will be influenced by the people executing it. And I am committed to engaging and drawing on the talents of the federal workforce in order to deliver on our promise of a new, more efficient and effective government."
In naming Killefer chief performance officer, Obama has taken the first step toward this promise. Now we'll need to see how well the performance team ... performs.