An Information Sheet for Federal Communicators, Managers, Workers, and Their Partners--Pass It On
President Clinton moved quickly following his regulatory reform briefing on February 21 to let heads of departments and agencies know his expectations and timetable for overhauling the federal government's regulatory culture and processes.
In a memo released March 4, he said reform of the regulatory system is the "central part of reinventing government" and "must be a top priority." The current initiative will build on the regulatory philosophy set out in Executive Order No.12866 of September 30, 1993.
"In the year and a half since that order was signed, we have opened the rulemaking process to the public, we have increased cooperation and coordination among the Federal agencies, and we have seen good processes produce good decisions," the President said.
"However, not all agencies have taken the steps necessary to implement regulatory reform."
Cut Regs, Reward Results, Create Partnerships, and Negotiate--NOW
The President directed agencies to focus immediately on four steps:
Cut Obsolete Regulations. Conduct a page-by-page review of all regulations and eliminate or revise those that are outdated or in need of reform. The review should include a number of issues, including ways the goals could be achieved in more efficient, less intrusive ways. Ask if there are other alternatives, such as turning the responsibility over to the private sector or states and localities.
TIMETABLE: Submit a list to the President by June 1, distinguishing between those that require administrative action and those that require legislation.
Reward Results, Not Red Tape. Change the way you measure performance, focusing on results, not process and punishment. For example, Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors should not be evaluated by the number of citations they write. First, identify performance measures that you hope to achieve through your regulatory program, write them up in clear, understandable terms, and circulate to frontline regulators for comment. This is the same work required to meet the requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993. Second,
evaluate and reward employees based on these goals.
TIMETABLE: By June 1, eliminate all internal personnel performance measures based on process and punishment. Provide the National Performance Review a catalog of the changes you are making to reward employees, including information on shifts in resource allocations from enforcement to compliance.
Get Out of Washington and Create Grassroots Partnerships. Promptly convene groups of frontline regulators and the people affected by their regulations all over the country.
TIMETABLE: Submit schedule to NPR by March 30.
Negotiate, Don't Dictate. Expand considerably your efforts to promote consensual rulemaking. It is time, the President said, to move from a process where lawyers and bureaucrats write volumes of regulations to one where people work in partnership to issue sensible regulations that impose the least burden without sacrificing rational and necessary protections. In September, 1993, the President asked each agency to identify at least one rule that could be conducted through negotiated rulemaking. The President said he would amend the Executive Order 12838 that reduced the number of advisory committees. The amendment will allow for advisory committees for negotiated rulemakings.
TIMETABLE: By March 30, submit a list of upcoming rulemakings that can be negotiated to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs .
OCC Is Already Overhauling Its Regulations from A-to-Z
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is conducting a top-to-bottom, zero-based, A-to-Z review of its regulations---regulations that directly shape the way banks run their business. Comptroller Eugene A. Ludwig wants all regulations to focus on achieving results. He also wants them written in a way that any business person could understand, without having to be deciphered by a bank's legal department. This is the first time such a thorough regulation review has been conducted in the OCC's 130-year history.
Payoffs Have Begun
Here are some of the initial accomplishments. OCC has:
Proposed to eliminate the permit that banks must get if they share ATMs. In the future, instead of a cumbersome application process and mountains of paperwork, banks will just notify OCC after the fact.
Cut the examination materials for a community bank from more than 1,200 pages to just 30.
Changed regulations legalese to plain English and dropped all cross-references to different statutes to make the rules easy to read and understand.
Contact: Lee Cross, (202) 874-4970.
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. 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 organizations, please contact our team. Also send us stories you'd like included.