An Information Sheet for Federal Communicators, Managers, Workers, and Their Partners--Pass It On
Pursuing his commitment to reinvent government, the President unveiled plans to restructure and streamline four more agencies on March 27. Over the next 5 years, this restructuring will get rid of outmoded practices, cut the federal workforce by another 4,805 positions, and save about $13.1 billion. The four agencies are the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Small Business Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Department of the Interior.
"I believe we need a government that shrinks bureaucracy and increases opportunity," the President said. "The key to our future is to, therefore, create more opportunity, but also to have all of us, each of us in our own ways, assume more responsibility." He said that a lot of things don't have a partisan tinge. "I hope that we can keep this reinventing government effort a broad-based bipartisan one," he continued.
FCC Chairman Presents Check for $7.7 Billion
To highlight what can happen when government changes the way it operates, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Reed Hundt presented the President with an oversized "check" for $7.7 billion made out to "American Taxpayers." The money was raised from auctioning wireless licenses to companies. Until 1994, licenses for the electromagnetic spectrum (which is public property), were given away. "Today, we see again the good that can come when we discard the old ways," the President said. In the past a company that wanted these licenses " filled out a stack of government forms, then hired lawyers and lobbyists to shepherd the case through the process year after year." It was they who got paid, not the government, the President explained. "This new revenue goes straight to reducing the deficit." FCC, which won the Vice President's Hammer Award for its achievements, will conduct more auctions in the future.
What Went Before
In December, President Clinton announced the continuation of the National Performance Review to undergird his proposal for a Middle Class Bill of Rights. Led by Vice President Gore, REGO II features four concurrent themes: agency restructuring, regulatory reform, realigning the federal/state relationship, and continuing implementation of Phase I. Phase I reforms include customer service standards, procurement, and electronic communications. The driving question of the first phase was: How can government work better and cost less? The purpose of REGO II is to answer the question: What should government be doing?
In January, the President's proposed FY 1996 budget featured the restructuring plansofHousing and Urban Development, Energy, Transportation, the General Services Administration, and the Office of Personnel Management. In the weeks ahead, the President and Vice President will announce restructuring proposals of other departments and agencies. Savings from the second phase will be used to pay for tax breaks for raising children, training and education, and retirement savings.
What Agencies Are Doing
Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt, FEMA Administrator James Lee Witt, NASA Administrator Dan Goldin, and SBA Administrator Phil Lader attended the March 27 ceremony. Here are the highlights of their agencies' 5-year REGO II plans.
NASA-NASA, which is conducting a zero-base review of its entire operation, will restructure its Field Center infrastructure to align it with a smaller space program. It will eliminate duplication, overlap, and unnecessary work; use private sector capabilities whenever possible; and streamline procurement. NASA projects $8 billion in savings and reduction of an additional 2,000 FTEs.
Small Business Administration-SBA's reinvention effort-Stretching Taxpayer Dollarswill cut its annual budget by 29 percent, reduce FTEs by 500, and save $1.2 billion. For example, the agency will cut the cost of its loan guaranty programs to zero by shifting the cost to the lenders and borrowers. It will also streamline its field structure and work more closely with its partners, such as private lenders, to help small businesses.
Federal Emergency Management Agency-FEMA will integrate its grant programs and consolidate funding streams to the states, help states increase their capabilities to respond to disasters, set up a state per-capita self-insurance requirement for public facilities that will be a deductible that states must cover before receiving federal assistance. FEMA expects to save $100 million and cut 305 FTEs.
Interior-This department proposes to turn over numerous programs to states and Indian tribes, including transferring the Bureau of Indian Affairs program operations to tribes. Interior will allow companies with current offshore oil and gas royalties to acquire them through buy outs, with the goal of returning the fair market value of these resources to the Treasury. The Department also proposed to turn over DC-area parkways to Maryland and Virginia. By operating more like a business, Interior expects to save or bring in revenue of about $3.8 billion and cut FTEs by about 2,000.
For more information, contact Pat Wood, Communications Team, National Performance Review, 750-17th St., NW, Washington, DC 20006. Phone: (202) 632-0150, ext. 102; FAX: (202) 632-0390; email: firstname.lastname@example.org. We ask federal editors and communicators to help spread the word about REGO II by using this information in your internal publications and email. You will want to customize the story to fit your agency. If you want examples from other federal agencies, please contact our team.