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Federal worker cost-cutting finalists announced

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

As the Obama administration and Congressional Republicans prepare to debate a series of government cost-cutting proposals in the coming months, the White House on Monday will tout four money saving ideas proposed by federal workers that would help make small cuts in the federal deficit and lead to more losses for the U.S. Postal Service and newspaper industry.

The four ideas, gleaned from about 18,000 submissions, are part of the second annual White House Save Award, a contest that seeks cost-cutting ideas from rank and file federal employees. The general public and federal employees will be able to vote on the four top ideas in an online poll. The worker who submitted the winning idea will meet with President Obama, who then plans to include the winning idea in his proposed fiscal year 2012 budget, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

Last year's winning ideas, including one that allowed veterans treated at Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals to take home leftover medicines, are at varying degrees of implementation, OMB said.

The contest's four finalists work for the Bureau of Prisons, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the Department of Homeland Security and Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA):

-- Marjorie Cook is an FSIS inspector from Bangor, Mich. who noticed that the agency requires inspectors to ship about 125,000 samples to labs each year using FedEx's "Express Next Day" service. The labs use the same fast shipping method to ship back empty containers. "We could save a bundle by having those boxes shipped back through regular ground service," Cook wrote in her contest submission, according to OMB.

-- Paul Behe, a Cleveland paralegal specialist, suggested the Department of Homeland Security should advertise property seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection online instead of in newspapers, saving the agency both time and money. Behe's office has more than 900 cases of seized property waiting in storage to be processed and advertised, he said.

-- Thomas Koenning of Littleton, Colo., works for MSHA's information technology center and suggested requiring mine operators to report quarterly coal production and employment data online to save on paper and postage costs. The move also would help MSHA more accurately process mine health and safety data and reduce human error.

-- Trudy Givens, of Portage, Wisc., is a 19-year employee of the Bureau of Prisons who noticed that her coworkers don't use copies of the Federal Register sent to her office every work day. Approximately 8,000 federal employees receive paper copies of the publication, but could instead do so on the Register's recently revamped Web site, she said. The Register should instead allow recipients to opt-in for hard copy deliveries, an option that would likely reduce postage and printing costs, she said.

OMB could not provide exact figures on the potential savings, but estimated that the ideas could each save between six and eight figures annually -- providing little relief to the trillion-dollar deficits anticipated in the next decade.

Despite the small savings, administration officials consider the contest an opportunity to promote "a cultural shift" among federal employees, encouraging them to stretch taxpayer dollars farther, officials said.

Federal workers may begin voting Monday at www.SaveAward.gov. The winning idea will be announced at a later date.

Do you like the ideas? Would you suggest other ones? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Cabinet and Staff News: In India, President Obama faces questions about Pakistan. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are also on the India trip. Obama also keeping his core staff intact. A review of a new book about Vice President Biden. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton complements an official's "excellent bling." Defense Secretary Robert Gates urges Congress to move fast on "don't ask, don't tell" and the START Treaty. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner faces Asian headwinds. Does the federal government need a chief operating officer? The primary architect of the federal Head Start program has died. Five myths about George W. Bush.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT:
Fresh slate at the Pentagon lies ahead for Obama: He'll have to make several new appointments for civilian and leadership positions in the next year.

U.S. drones on hunt in Yemen: They're hunting for al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen for the first time in years but have not fired missiles from the unmanned aircraft.

GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION:
Workers on alert after breach of data: Officials apologized to employees for the incident in a letter dated Oct. 25 -- almost six weeks after the breach occurred.

GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING:
4 competitors protest award of $2.6 billion IT contract to Northrop Grumman: Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Serco and L-3 Communications are all crying foul to the Government Accountability Office, which is set to rule by early next year.

OFFICE OF THE COMPTROLLER OF THE CURRENCY:
Regulators flawed in foreclosure oversight: OCC chose not to scrutinize the foreclosure operations of the largest national banks, forgoing any examination of their procedures and paperwork.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | November 8, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Budget, Eye Opener  
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Comments

You have to be kidding - If these are the best cost saving ideas- a couple of $ on postage and news paper ads, we are really - really in trouble. This sounds like everyone was required to come up with an idea and the easiest, most obvious thing was submitted. I bet there was a prize given if 100% participation in turning in a suggestion was reached.

Posted by: cschnitger | November 8, 2010 7:02 AM | Report abuse


No. You are under no obligation to remain with your current lender. But it is a good idea to let them know what you're planning to do so they'll offer you their best rate. If you need quotes from other companies search "123 Mortgage Refinance" they found me the lowest refinance rate i could get.

Posted by: nigeljo | November 8, 2010 7:06 AM | Report abuse

It is sad that these ideas were chosen. If you go to this site: http://saveaward2010.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Stop-Double-Pay-to-Microsoft/61116-9432

you will see the idea I submitted. I am not sure how much the postage will save us, but this could save more than a few hundred million.

--

Posted by: perldude69 | November 8, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

I found a HOTTEST interracial club Mixed Connect. c 0 m for black Women and white Men, or black Men and white Women, to interact with each other. Interracial is not a problem here, but a great merit to cherish!

Posted by: sallyworking2006 | November 8, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

This is pretty sad. I was hoping for better solutions.

Posted by: trumeau | November 8, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I found a HOTTEST interracial club Mixed Connect. c 0 m for black Women and white Men, or black Men and white Women, to interact with each other. Interracial is not a problem here, but a great merit to cherish!

Posted by: sallyworking2006 | November 8, 2010 8:19 AM

*******************************************

What the hell does this have to do with the subject matter?!?! p.s. Where are all of the phat white women at!! LOL HAHAHA

Posted by: TheChampishere | November 8, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

You have to be kidding - If these are the best cost saving ideas- a couple of $ on postage and news paper ads, we are really - really in trouble. This sounds like everyone was required to come up with an idea and the easiest, most obvious thing was submitted. I bet there was a prize given if 100% participation in turning in a suggestion was reached.

Posted by: cschnitger | November 8, 2010 7:02 AM

*******************************************

You have to think bigger! If you think these costs equate to "a couple of $" you are kidding yourself. These costs equal millions of dollars every year as you have to think "nationwide"!!

Get a grip!

Posted by: TheChampishere | November 8, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I am an ex federal employee so I do not make this suggestion lightly. My suggestion: implement pay cuts. 0% for salaries up to $25K ... 1% for $25 to $50K ... 2% for $50 to $100K ... 5% for over $100K.

Maryland implemented furloghs. I do not believe in those. Make pay cuts to show the American people that the Federal Govt. is doing something that is very visible.

Posted by: wlsngang | November 8, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

How about Obama firing 90% of his czars and reduce the number of "handmaidens" Michelle has at her beck and call. Then he could reduce the number of incompetent advisers by another 90%. It would probably save a billion or more.

Oh, oh, another GREAT one: have Obama stay at the White house for 30 days straight (it has yet to happen) and not pull out Air Force One for his diversionary trips to where ever, just to get away from Michelle. And stop the lavish vacations on the taxpayer dime. They want to vacation? Let them fund their own, they have the money.

Now there are some savings for you!

Posted by: kavalair | November 8, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Furloughs are a great idea. The government closings in February showed us how unimportant most of these people are. They got caught up again within a week or two.

The government could close for a week every month or two and few would even notice.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | November 8, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

We have people on this thread alone that show how utterly clueless they are with what the federal government does on a daily basis

Saying things like, 'They are paid too much and do nothing' show that they haven't the faintest clue how little these people make AND how much work they do daily

There is a reason that when DC had major snow storms, we saw stories about MILLIONS being wasted b/c of the feds not being open during those days

Courts closed, services closed, etc....

Cutting these peoples salaries that are ALREADY making little is a joke

Posted by: Bious | November 8, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

1) cut federal workforce by 20% starting tomorrow. By not filling vacancies and
retiring workers should get at least 110% of that number

2) immediately all new federal hires will
no longer be in the fedreal pension system rather they will be in the social security system.

those 2 suggestion alone would stabilize social security and force the federla agencies to remake their job descriptions.

ultimately the federal workforce should be cut by total 30%.

Posted by: JohnAdams1 | November 8, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

The millions wasted during the snowstorms was in SALARIES, not productivity.

Paying people to not work is a waste. Send them home and don't pay them to not work. One week a month.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | November 8, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

All to the good, but of negligible size.

If Jeff Zients is not thinking of real savings 4-5 orders of magnitude greater than this, he ought to quit or be terminated, with thanks from a grateful nation, of course, for his service. So far, his impact and those of his deputies have been minute.

Posted by: axolotl | November 8, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

@ JohnAdams1

"1) cut federal workforce by 20% starting tomorrow. By not filling vacancies and
retiring workers should get at least 110% of that number"

THAT is already been happening since Bush left the office there Ringo! Positions are vacant and not being filled, tripling the work of current workers throughout the DoD.

"2) immediately all new federal hires will
no longer be in the fedreal pension system rather they will be in the social security system."

They have been in the SS system since the 80's there Ringo! I pay my share with a possibility there will be nothing when I retire (leave it up to the evil republicans). We also pay into the pension. It's not some freebie lucrative windfall. Reagan tore the federal perks apart and has been failing since.

Apparently you haven't been too keen on what's happening throughout the federal govt. It is NOT the best place to work and agencies are finding it harder and harder, AND more expensive to hire with attrition flying thru the roof.

"ultimately the federal workforce should be cut by total 30%."

Sure Ringo! But be sure you complain to your Congressman when you, your family or friends need the federal govt's assistance. And YOU ALL will, unless you live in a cave in the mountains with no civilization. be very careful what you ask for...

Many of us federal workers are about SICK and TIRED of getting caught up in a political spin of the USA debt and spending, while the pugs you elected are sliiping in BILLIONS on spending perks for their districts like bridges to nowhere, cow pee contamination analysis by Lilly, land surveys of billion dollar projects that NEVER get completed, billions of grants given to corporate buddies for projects that NEVER get completed. The list goes on!

YOU PEOPLE ARE CLUELESS! We'll take a 1 week furlough as long as ALL of the private sector do the same. Oh my! Is that threatening to hit YOUR pocketbook? Hypocrits!

Posted by: darbyohara | November 9, 2010 6:30 AM | Report abuse

darbyohara, read your post. This is why America hates you.

Your days are numbered.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | November 9, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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