EPA Announces New Office to Boost Efficiency

May 17, 2018

EPA announced this week the creation of the Office of Continuous Improvement (OCI) to streamline and track performance of Agency rulemakings, legal deadlines, and permitting.

The new office will expand EPA’s “lean management system” initiative that encourages Agency staff to focus on “mission-critical work.” The initiative was launched by the Obama administration in 2014. Administrator Pruitt wants the lean management system implemented across 80 percent of EPA by 2020. Creation of OCI is consistent with Administrator Pruitt’s overall approach to get EPA “back to basics.”

The Agency’s webpage describes OCI’s supervision of lean management initiatives as helping to improve “the quality, transparency, and speed” of EPA services, resulting in “superior customer service” for stakeholders.

However, environmental groups quickly criticized the announcement of OCI’s creation, claiming it shifts EPA’s focus away from the Agency’s core mission of environmental protection. The groups contend that “lean” refers to the lowest staffing levels since the Reagan administration and a nearly half billion cut in the Agency’s budget since President Trump took office. They also are calling on Administrator Pruitt to resign over alleged ethical lapses and his spending habits.