Statement of Sallyanne Harper
for Confirmation as Chief Financial Officer
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
before the Committee on Environment and Public Works
United States Senate
February 3, 1998

Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee. It is a great honor to be here today as the President's and Administrator Browner's nominee as the EPA's Chief Financial Officer. If confirmed, I would welcome this opportunity to serve the Administration and the American people to the best of my ability.

As a member of the Senior Executive Service, I have been privileged to serve in senior career civil service positions relating to financial management under three Administrators. Nevertheless, I can say that the position for which I have been nominated presents a unique and exciting challenge in this time of fundamental change at EPA. With your support, our environmental mission has been reaffirmed and reinvigorated, and there is a strong focus on resultsoriented resource and financial management.

The American people expect the highest quality and integrity in the use and management of their tax dollars. I share these expectations and, if confirmed, will use all of my skill and energy to meet them. I would like to present to you a brief summary of the principles that will guide me, if the Senate chooses to confirm me as the Chief Financial Officer.

I, and my colleagues at all levels at EPA, are driven by a strong personal commitment to a clean and healthy environment. At the same time, having dedicated my professional career to fiscal resource management, I firmly believe that the mission of the Agency can only be accomplished in an atmosphere of fiscal responsibility and good management.

My goal since being appointed Acting Chief Financial Officer in March of 1996 -- and a goal implicit in such statutes as the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) and the Chief Financial Officers Act -- has been, and would continue to be, to enhance EPA's ability to reach its environmental objectives through more effective planning and resource management. I will also work to ensure that the American public and Congress have access to clear and comprehensive information on EPA's financial stewardship and on the effectiveness of the Agency's programs. And I recognize that the most effective way for us to accomplish our environmental mission is through joint action with our State partners.

The management challenge at EPA extends well beyond resource management. The Agency must evaluate every aspect of its work to measure efforts against results. Are we spending scarce dollars to our best advantage in achieving meaningful and measurable improvements in environmental quality? Can we show the American public that we are meeting our environmental challenges and public health threats efficiently and effectively? In short, we are being challenged to manage smartly against our bottom line, which is environmental quality for the people of this country.

To this end, I am deeply committed to the challenge of continuing the development of a comprehensive strategic planning, budgeting, analysis and accountability program at EPA. I believe we are on track and would like to present some of the highlights of our work to date in these areas.

In September of last year, we delivered to you the Environmental Protection Agency's Strategic Plan, as required under GPRA. Through the process of developing this Plan, the Agency, aided by the views of its partners and stakeholders, engaged in an intensive evaluation of what we would like our work to have achieved five years from now.

We have also made significant strides in the process of aligning our budget structure with the Strategic Plan elements. This will aid all participants in the budget process -- both in the Administration and in Congress -- in future years as we approach the GPRA vision of clear linkages between environmental results and budget decisions.

We have begun to address the internal challenge of developing an accountability system that moves us away from counting "program outputs" and toward the measurement of environmental outcomes.

This is a daunting challenge, but the cooperation of Agency managers and the support we are receiving from State representatives, allows me to be confident of success.

All of these activities, guided by the Chief Financial Of ricer, must continue if we are to effect the major redirection toward performance-based management envisioned by GPRA. I pledge to continue these efforts.

Should I be confirmed, I look forward to working with the Administrator, this Committee and other members of Congress, and the broad constituencies served by EPA, to ensure the financial resources entrusted to us are managed wisely. Thank you for this opportunity to address you.