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2nd annual SAVE Award starts Thursday

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Federal workers with thoughts on how to save taxpayer dollars can start submitting their cost-conscious ideas Thursday as part of a White House-backed contest.

The second annual SAVE Award will start accepting submissions at starting today through July 22. Federal employees will be able to rank the submissions as they’re submitted by colleagues and the general public will be able to vote on the top submissions later this year. The contest winner earns a face-to-face meeting with President Obama, who will include the winning idea in his fiscal 2012 budget proposal.

Last year’s contest more than 38,000 submissions from government employees and more than 84,000 votes, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

“The basic premise here is that many of the best ideas exist on the front line,” said OMB deputy director Jeffrey Zients. “Those doing the work on the front lines have the best ideas on how to make changes. We want to reach out to the frontlines to get them.”

Last year’s winning idea came from Nancy Fichtner, a Department of Veterans Affairs employee from Colorado who suggested that VA medial centers should permit patients to take home extra bandages and medication when they are discharged. The change in policy is expected to save VA at least $14.5 million by 2014, OMB said.

Other finalists included a U.S. Forest Service worker who suggested that national forests should deposit checks at local banks instead of mailing them to a central processing facility, a Housing and Urban Development employee who wanted housing agencies to consolidate inspections, and a Social Security Administration worker who thought people should be able to schedule appointments with the agency online. Agencies included those ideas in 2011 budget proposals.

Whether you're a federal worker or not -- do you have ideas on how the government could save money? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Question of the Week: How diverse is your staff, including its management team — not only in race and ethnicity, but gender, age, religion and general backgrounds? What ways might help your staff improve its diversity or take better advantage of its diversity? E-mail your answer to, and include your full name, home town and the agency for which you work. We might include your response in Friday’s Washington Post.

Cabinet and Staff News: First Lady Michelle Obama to visit the Gulf Coast. Vice President Biden thrives as the wars rage on. Hillary Clinton's speechwriter stepping down.

Census aims to (finally) move into the future: Momentum is mounting to drag future Censuses into the 21st century.

Naval Academy says 4 treated for heat exhaustion: The four had completed an endurance course that included climbing cargo netting and jumping over logs.

Study rekindles debate over federal pay and benefits: A right-leaning Washington think tank once again has added fuel to the debate over federal employee pay with a report asserting civil servants earn significantly higher salaries than private sector workers.

Obama asks court to reinstate ban on Deepwater drilling: The Interior Department said it was necessary to allow time to adopt stricter safety and environmental regulation of deepwater wells.

Health-care law may pose challenges for IRS, taxpayers: It's neither structured nor funded to effectively oversee social programs, according to critics.

Steps point to possible swap of spy suspects with Russia: Russia and the United States appear to be involved in negotiations to trade the Russian espionage suspects for a scientist and others convicted of spying in Russia in the past decade.

Subway terror plot tied to planned U.K. attack: Prosecutors claimed the New York subway plot was part of a bigger scheme by al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan to use Western operatives to attack a target in the U.K.

U.S. Program to detect cyber attacks on infrastructure: The government's chief eavesdropping agency would rely on a set of sensors deployed in computer networks for critical infrastructure that would be triggered by unusual activity suggesting an impending cyber attack.

Labor Department orders electrical fixes at 350 postal facilities: At least eight Postal Service employees have been hurt in "electrical arc flash/blast accidents" during the last decade

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By Ed O'Keefe  | July 8, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener, Workplace Issues  
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Next: Can you crack the Cyber Command code?


I know how to fix our deficate and balance our budget. Stop spending so much money. The US Government should be just like a penny pincher. Know where every penny is going and if a penny can be saved do it. These pennies turn into dollars if you do it right! NO frivilious spending.

Posted by: randykree | July 9, 2010 1:31 AM | Report abuse

Federal spending is all about gettin' mine. Each member of Congress makes sure they get theirs for their district. It leads to lots of silly stuff being done.

However, we can't get bogged on the silly small things. The problem is the big things. Nobody ever wants to cut the big things. Too many voters affected. It keeps getting worse.

Posted by: baldinho1 | July 9, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

How about starting with the thousands of Feds who collect a check every pay day for just showing up but refuse to pay their Federal Income Tax

Hey how about collecting back taxes from federal employees---

Posted by: syoung29 | July 13, 2010 7:36 AM | Report abuse

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