An Information Sheet for Federal Communicators, Managers, Workers, and Their Partners--Pass It On
Reform Yes, Roll Back, No
The regulatory system needs to be reformed, not eliminated, the President stressed. "And we must do it while we are shrinking the federal bureaucracy." He said that he would oppose any efforts that would completely strip away regulations that protect public health and safety. He unequivocally opposed efforts by the Congress, which will vote this week on an across-the-board freeze on all federal regulations.
"I am determined to see reform of our regulatory system, so that it costs less, meddles less, and puts more responsibility into the hands of the people themselves. But while we reform regulation, we cannot strip away safeguards for our children, our workers, our families," the President said.
Regulatory Reform Is Part of the National Performance Review
Vice President Gore, who has been working on regulatory reform as part of the National Performance Review to make government work better and cost less, said, "We have learned that we can cut back on the number of regulations. And if we translate them into plain English, we'll need fewer words."
Generally, regulatory agencies have been getting what they measure, the Vice President said. "In most cases, they have been measuring process and punishment." To start reform, agencies have to rethink the entire regulatory system, he said.
The President stressed that a new approach to regulation is needed, one where the federal government carefully compares the costs and benefits of regulations and works to create partnerships with the private sector. He asked federal regulators to start at once to:
Cut obsolete regulations. Conduct a page-by-page review of all rules and regulations to identify obsolete regulations that could be better achieved through the private sector, self-regulation or state and local government. The results of these reviews must be reported to the President by June 1, 1995.
Reward results, not red tape. Reform the way government measures the performance of front-line regulators and regulatory agencies so that those measurements are based on results and not on process and punishment.
Get out of Washington--create grass roots partnerships. Convene immediately groups of front-line regulators and people affected by regulations so that reform is guided by reality and not special-interest lobbying.
Negotiate, don't dictate. Submit to the White House a list of pending rulemakings that can be converted into negotiated rulemakings to strengthen public-private partnerships.
The President Saluted Reinvention Models
The President hailed several federal pioneers in regulatory reform: Joseph A. Dear, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health; Eugene A. Ludwig, Comptroller of the Currency; and D. Lynn Gordon, District Director of Customs in Miami.
A Regulatory Model
Fresh flowers and other perishables used to wilt in the Miami sun while Customs officials searched shipments box by box, and the airlines got the complaints. Passengers got a bit grumpy, as well, when they had to stand in line 30 minutes to clear Customs.
No more. Now in Miami many shipments clear Customs even before they reach port, and passengers get through in less than 5 minutes. Customs in Miami, led by District Director, D. Lynn Gordon, decided to clean up this act by focusing on customer service, not process and punishment.
Customs began working with other federal agencies--Immigration and Naturalization Service, Food and Drug Administration, and Fish and Wildlife Service--to view shippers as customers. Further, Customs invited all shippers to form a partnership. Customs employees taught the shippers how to help with enforcement, and the shippers helped Customs identify high-risk shipments. Together they built computer systems and other facilities. Things are much improved for shippers, regulators, and passengers. As another plus, enforcement rates are at an all time high. Director Gordon is temporarily working at the National Performance Review to help other agencies reinvent themselves.
Back in Washington
Meantime, Commissioner George Weise and his team are working hard to align the mission of the Customs Service with the demands of a rapidly changing global economy. They are reinventing themselves (Customs--one of the oldest of all federal agencies--even had regulations on how many cannons could be on a ship in port), getting advice from many private sector companies, and reengineering core business processes. For more information, contact John Eichleberger at (202) 927-0388.
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: 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.