The Vice President gave a sneak preview of a soon-to-be published customer survey conducted by 150 agencies across government. "For the first time, we have real data on how we are doing."
"One hundred percent of calls to U.S. Customs are now answered in 60 seconds or less," he said. "Second, in February of this year, always the busiest month, 97 percent of the Social Security Administration's callers got through in five minutes or less. The Federal Emergency Management Agency piloted a 1-800 customer help line following disasters in New York and Pennsylvania, and 100 percent of the inquiries were answered with a single call." The Vice President also cited agencies' use of technology, particularly the Internet, to make revolutionary changes in customer service.
"Well, on the first point, keeping all the reinventors informed, I think we've made some real progress. The Federal Communicators Network provides reinvention news to the editors of over 350 agency newsletters and similar publications. This network collectively addresses over three million civilian and military federal personnel. There is also an NPR home page at www.npr.gov. I invite you to check it out. It provides, over the Internet, a whole array of materials and services that now keep us well-informed and able to share bright ideas." (Editor's note: Federal communicators may join the Federal Communicators Network by contacting email@example.com..gov.
"We're using the Blair House Papers to tell your bosses to get it...implement it, do it. And I'm asking you front-line reinventors, in turn, to use this document as a wedge to ask for, indeed to demand, more responsibility, more authority, and more empowerment...In this, my 1997 state of reinvention address, I hereby declare the era of better government has begun."
Deborah Ruiz, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego--At her team's suggestion, this Marine boot camp replaced the labor-intensive ancient "scrip" (like Monopoly money) with a fully electronic pay system and a "smart" card for all recruit purchases, saving $1.7 million. A warehouse worker suggested that new uniforms issued to recruits who immediately lost weight be washed and recycled instead of stored then thrown away, saving $220,000 a year. At the suggestion of a member of the audience, Vice President Gore said he would bring the worker to the White House for recognition (Stay tuned on this one!).
Georgia Layloff, Food and Drug Administration, St. Louis--FDA is finding that partnering with industry to bring safe and effective medical devices to the marketplace as quickly as possible is better than the old adversarial relationship.
Bill Johnson, Agriculture, Kansas City--Bill is fighting an uphill battle to save a quarter million dollars a year on postage with an Automated Records Management Initiative.
Lt. John Mazur, State Police officer, NJ--The Occupational Safety and Health Administration trains State Police to recognize safety hazards on highway construction jobs. The national average for workers killed on construction sites is 794. New Jersey has had one death in 3 years. (See "The New OSHA: Getting a Grip on Workplace Injuries, Illnesses, and Deaths.")
The Vice President's speech is on the NPR Web Site (www.npr.gov). Click on News Room, then "Speeches." Welfare to Work is www.welfaretowork.fed.gov.