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Beleaguered agency brings in the consultants

By Juliet Eilperin

Updated 8:30 p.m. ET
What do you do when you've got a badly troubled agency in need of an overhaul?

You hire the high-priced consulting firm McKinsey & Co. to tell you how to fix it.

That's what the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement Director Michael Bromwich explained during a conference call with reporters Tuesday afternoon -- though he emphasized that the decision to bring on McKinsey had been made before he took over as the bureau's chief in June. (BOEMRE -- or whichever acronym you prefer -- is the agency formerly known as the Minerals Management Service.)

"The selection process predated my arrival," he said, adding that when it comes to the cost of the consulting gig, "I don't know the precise figures of the McKinsey contract."

Michael R. Bromwich
Michael R. Bromwich. (Image by BOEMRE)

But the firm has been hard at work for weeks, traveling to survey BOEM employees in Santa Barbara, Calif., Anchorage, Alaska and Lafayette, La. Bromwich said the firm had assigned a "very senior and qualified team" to the task, which boasts "vast public and private reorganization experience."

"Their main objective is to learn about the organization in as quick a period of time as they can," he said, adding that they will meet with him on a weekly basis and ultimately present "a large menu of recommendations, options for me to choose from, and decisions for me to make."

The McKinsey contract will cost taxpayers $4.4 million and was awarded through a competitive bidding process, according to an Interior Department official who asked not to be identified.

It is unclear when the McKinsey team will offer its final report: Bromwich reminded reporters that the reorganization could last through all of next year.

He noted that the consultants had emphasized a central message that he agrees with: "This can't be, and shouldn't be, a top-down reorganization process."

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

By Juliet Eilperin  | September 14, 2010; 5:22 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Contracting  
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Whether they can root out this pervasive corruption remains to be seen.
I certainly hope so, for all our sakes.

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | September 15, 2010 1:45 AM | Report abuse

I hope that HHS/NIH take the hint. HHS/NIH is a troubled agency and top management, middle management and low management can not see it. Anytime in one division you have 9 or more EEO cases, it's corrupt and troubled.

Posted by: hendersoncy | September 15, 2010 6:46 AM | Report abuse

The same Mckinsey that Enron's Mr.Skilling from Enron worked at? The same Mckinsey that consulted Allstate to get tough to its policyholders by accepting reduced payouts or face year in court so Allstate could increase its profits? The same Mckinsey that started pro-bono work for Pla-NYC but ended up with a 1.5 million no-bid contract with this New York organization? Mckinsey does pick the brightest MBA's as its consultants but one must question Mckinsey ethincal boundries. 4.4 million taxpaying dollars to an secretive consulting firm whose employees make huge amounts of salary and bonuses. God help us.

Posted by: racase7277 | September 15, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

"This can't be, and shouldn't be, a top-down reorganization process."

Excuse me? THAT is exactly what is wrong with 90% of the federal govt inefficiencies (and abuses). Of course, he is PART of that top. Certainly don't want the inspectors weeding thru his operations (and responsibilities). Top mgmt needs total reform and reduction throughout the federal workforce!

Posted by: darbyohara | September 16, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

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