National Partnership for Reinventing Government
(formerly National Performance Review)


Monday, July 22, 1996
Mike Russell, NPR, 202-632-0190
Maryanne McGerty-Sieber, CPSC, 609-875-8124

Reinvention Allows U.S. Agency To Better Protect Consumers, Save Taxpayer Dollars

PHILADELPHIA--The Clinton-Gore administration's reinventing government team, the National Performance Review (NPR), today presented Vice President Al Gore's "Hammer award" to a Philadelphia-based field team of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

"We are working to put common sense back into our government and Chairman Ann Brown and the Consumer Product Safety Commission are a key part of the change," Vice President Gore said. "The CPSC has put its frontline people out into the field--closer to its customers and consumers. They have cut paperwork, and they're working in close partnership with the private sector to achieve common goals. The CPSC is helping to produce a government that works better and costs less. This sort of positive change is critical to restoring Americans' faith in their government."

The award to the CPSC and Chairman Ann Brown, a Philadelphia native, is the Vice President's special recognition to teams of frontline federal workers who have made significant contributions to the NPR principles of putting customers first, cutting red tape, empowering frontline employees, and getting back to basics. The $6.00 hammer--with a little red, white, and blue ribbon and a handwritten note--is a symbolic answer to the $600.00 hammer of yesterday's government.

At the direction of Chairman Brown, the team successfully completed a telecommuting pilot program that is now being phased in throughout the CPSC. Over 40% of the commission's field workforce is now telecommuting on a full time basis, permitting the CPSC to release costly rental space in 16 cities and downsize offices in 13 other sites. The changes are producing savings for taxpayers and allowing the agency to better target its resources to improve monitoring of the nearly 15,000 types of consumer products under its jurisdiction.

"The bottom line is that telecommuting is allowing the CPSC to save taxpayers' money and provide the American public with better, faster service than ever before," said Chairman Brown. "These goals have been a top priority with Vice President Gore and this administration, and we are happy that the CPSC and its staff have been an active partner in helping to achieve them."

According to the NPR, the new telecommuting program, combined with the CPSC's model 1-800 telephone hotline service and other innovations, have made the watchdog agency a standard for reinvention within the federal government. CPSC received its first Hammer last year for improvements to its Hotline.

A "satisfied customer" of the reinvented CPSC is Philadelphia's Fire Marshal, Charles Lindsay, who has the responsibility for all educational and safety programs involving the city's fire department. At the Hammer award presentation, Lindsay cited a CPSC partnership program that enabled firefighters and volunteers to place smoke detectors in 750 needy homes in a 21 square block area in two months, a process that would have taken up to one year to complete the "old way".

Congressman James Greenwood, who represents the Richboro area and serves on the committee that authorizes CPSC funding, said in a statement: "Telecommuting is an exciting way to downsize the federal government, save taxpayers money, and improve the efficiency of public servants. And locally, it benefits the quality of our environment when we can eliminate a few autos at a time from the daily commute."

Fittingly, the presentation to Brown and the team took place at the Richboro, Bucks County home/office of CPSC supervisor--and telecommuter--Bruce Schwartz. Schwartz no longer has a two hour daily roundtrip commute to his former downtown office. Five more of his former downtown office mates also telecommute.

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