We don’t envy anyone working at the GAO. Telling Congress how badly they spend money and then telling the whole world about it (even though no one listens) sounds like a pretty thankless job.
So the fact that the GAO gave itself an “A” on its performance review shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Who else was going to the give them the performance review? Plus if you’re regularly known as the “Taxpayer’s Best Friend” then we think you can be trusted with the honor system.
In fiscal year 2009, GAO met or exceeded all of its performance targets by, for example, identifying $43 billion in financial benefits–a return of $80 for every dollar GAO spent–and over 1,300 improvements in laws and government programs and operations. The rate at which GAO’s recommendations were implemented by federal agencies or the Congress was 80 percent, and over two-thirds of the products issued contained recommendations. During fiscal year 2009, the GAO met or exceeded all of its performance targets and made recommendations that resulted in “over 1,300 improvements in laws and government programs and operations.
To be perfectly honest, that does sound pretty damn impressive. Trying to make any sense of the ins and outs of the federal government isn’t something that we would wish upon our worst enemy.
If you’re still skeptical of the GAO stellarness, you’ll be happy to know that it was recently ranked #2 in the best places to work in the federal government. Now before you dismiss this silver medal, this isn’t some hack job put out by Fortune; this is something that is only issued every two years, by the Partnership for Public Service. We’re not saying that it would be difficult to rank so high on such a list but it’s got to be worth something.