The Best Kept
Your government is changing dramatically so that it makes sense and serves you better. Here's what the Clinton-Gore Administration is doing to deliver on promises made three years ago:
"THE ERA OF BIG GOVERNMENT IS OVER"
- Government has reduced its workforce by nearly 240,000 as of January 1996. Thirteen of the 14 departments have reduced the size of their workforce; the Justice Department grew because of the Administration's fight against crime and drugs.
- We've cut government the right way by eliminating what you don't need bloated headquarters, layers of managers, outdated field offices, and ridiculous red tape and rules.
- We've saved and improved the parts you want Social Security, our National Park system, and other agencies that protect you and your family.
- We're closing nearly 2,000 obsolete field offices and have already eliminated nearly 200 programs and agencies, like the Tea-Tasters Board, the Bureau of Mines, and wool and mohair subsidies.
WE'RE RADICALLY CHANGING GOVERNMENT
Inside the federal government, radical changes are taking place to make it work better and cost nearly $118 billion less than it used to:
- Government workers can now buy $4 staplers because we've cut out the red tape that ran the cost up to $54 in the past.
- We've negotiated better deals for services that the government uses a lot and saved a lot of money in the process, like $3.62 for a three-pound FedEx delivery instead of $27. And as little as 2 cents a minute for long-distance calls instead of 16 cents a minute.
- Government workers are seeing much less of the illogical and bizarre rules and regulations:
- One-third of the federal workforce used to write rules for and micromanage the other two-thirds. We're getting rid of many of those jobs and are convincing agencies to trust their workers to use their common sense.
- We're cutting out superfluous layers of managers. We've eliminated nearly 54,000 supervisors and a few layers.
- In some cases, the Defense Department used to spend more on getting approval for employees to travel than it did on the travel itself. Now they're testing new automated systems that make sense and will save over $100 million a year.
- With new tools like the Line Item Veto and the ability to pursue people who are seriously delinquent in their debts to the federal government, we'll be able to do a better job of safeguarding taxpayer dollars.
WE'RE SERVING PEOPLE BETTER
President Clinton told federal agencies to make customer service to the public equal to the best in business. Over 200 agencies have committed to meeting more than 3,000 standards.
- The Social Security Administration stunned the business world last year by coming in first in an independent survey on the country's best 1-800 telephone service.
- We're changing the Blue Pages in the phone book so if you want a passport, you will look up "passport," without having to know you get it from the State Department.
- Agencies are working together to provide unique services for you:
- Veterans in New York can access Social Security and Veterans Services with one-stop service;
- You can go to the "Trading Posts" that the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service have set up to get maps, fishing information, and guide permits all in one place and at times that are convenient to you.
- In Houston, small business owners can go to the U.S. General Store to get information from federal, state, and local governments and even apply for loans.
- Or just stay home and do government business on the Internet. You can do everything from signing on to the U.S. Business Advisor to get answers to questions, to downloading IRS forms, or filling out a Small Business Administration loan form.
WE'RE CHANGING THE WAY WE TREAT BUSINESSES
President Clinton and Vice President Gore told government regulators to cut obsolete regulations and to start acting like partners. Agencies are eliminating 16,000 pages of regulations and dramatically simplifying another 31,000.
- We're doing it the right way -- rewarding companies that cooperate with us. But for those companies that don't work with us to ensure the public's safety and protect our environment, we will apply every penalty and sanction that the law allows.
- The Health Care Finance Administration eliminated the Physician Attestation Form. This ended the filing of 11 million forms each year and saved doctors 200,000 hours of time.
- The Department of Agriculture dropped three million pages of government forms.
- We're slashing the regulatory and administrative burden of government on citizens and businesses by nearly $28 billion a year.
WE'RE CHANGING THE WAY WE WORK WITH COMMUNITIES
We're letting states try new ways to reform health care and welfare so they can see what works best by focusing on results, not red tape. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have:
- Created more than 100 federal-local partnerships to focus on the needs of individual communities. These partnerships allow community residents to implement plans to solve what they -- not Washington -- see as their biggest problems.
- Approved welfare demonstration projects in more than 40 states in the three years before President Clinton signed the welfare reform bill.
- Approved 13 comprehensive Medicaid reform demonstrations in partnerships with states to expand coverage to 2.2 million low-income uninsured Americans.
- Signed agreements with two states -- Connecticut and Oregon -- to pilot new ways of doing business with less burden, and dramatically streamlined planning and other processes in a range of programs in other states.
What Agencies Have Accomplished
Department of Agriculture
- Undertook the most massive restructuring in its 134-year history.
- Cut the number of USDA agencies from 43 to 30 and is closing 1,200 field offices.
- Consolidated field operations to provide farmers with multi-agency service centers.
- Reduced staff by 10,000 and $900 million has already been saved.
- Will save $4.1 billion by 1999.
Department of Commerce
- Improved functions that support its core mission ensuring economic opportunity for all Americans and eliminated activities that do not.
- Eliminated requirements for prior approval on over $32 billion worth of exports, and has completed the first comprehensive rewrite of Bureau of Export Administration regulations in 45 years.
- Became a customer-driven organization, with nearly 200 specific customer service standards.
- Reengineering the 2000 decennial census to save nearly $900 million by 2002 and deliver the most accurate, far-reaching census ever.
- Reinventing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to save about $27 million through reduction of staff and terminating the NOAA Corps as a uniformed service.
- Will close about 200 unneeded National Weather Service field stations because of modernized technology for predicting the weather and save $273 million over five years.
Department of Defense
- Civilian workforce reductions to date amount to 12 percent of the Defense Department workforce.
- Launched major efforts to restructure, reorganize, and reduce overhead in a wide variety of support activities ranging from logistics to transportation; from finance and accounting to printing, map-making, and commissary operations.
- Saved $314 million in the Defense Finance and Accounting Service and reduced its staffing from 30,000 to 23,800.
- Will implement the Defense Civilian Payroll System by 1997, replacing 27 separate payroll systems.
- Will fully implement the Defense Joint Military Pay System by 1999 to consolidate the original 22 military pay systems down to two.
- Will save as much as $100 million a year by simplifying the process for travel by civilian and military personnel.
- Has nearly 100 Reinvention Laboratories, designed to allow and encourage organizations to reinvent themselves and seek waivers of regulations to help them do so.
- Is determined to become the world's smartest, most responsive buyer of the best value goods and services that meet their needs.
Department of Education
- Eliminated or reinvented 93 percent of its regulations. The Goals 2000 and School to Work Opportunities Act have no new regulations at all.
- Streamlined the guaranteed student loan program, began electronically transferring funds to colleges, and gave students the broadest array of repayment options available anywhere.
- Created the Low Hanging Apples team to identify unnecessary and burdensome red tape that were easily eliminated or changed such as the abolition of excessive reviews, the elimination of unnecessary personnel paperwork and better use of technology.
Department of Energy
- Sale of the Alaska Power Marketing Administration for an expected $80 million.
- Sale of the Naval Petroleum Reserve in Elk Hills, CA, for an expected $1.6 billion.
- Shifted to performance-based contracting which ties payment to performance and does away with the problems of inadequate oversight and management control of the past.
- Reinvented internal management practices and initiated cost-cutting measures to save $1.7 billion.
- Reducing the workforce by 27 percent over the next five years, saving $10 million more than projected.
- Will save $1.2 billion through changes in applied energy programs.
- Saving $450 million through reductions in use of support service contractors and $245 million by restructuring information management systems.
Environmental Protection Agency
- Cut fifteen million hours of paperwork burden for business and communities.
- Will cut another 8 million hours of filling out needless forms by the end of 1996.
- Lowered penalties for small business owners who have a commitment to fix environmental problems.
- Created partnerships with business through Project XL and the Common Sense Initiative, and Environmental Leadership Program.
- Gave flexibility to states to target federal environmental funds to meet community needs.
- Launched the Brownfields Action Agenda to provide seed money and tax incentives to clean up abandoned industrial properties that dot the cities of America and turn them into centers of economic activity.
- In three years, completed cleanup of more toxic waste sites than in the previous 12 years of the Superfund cleanup program.
- Toxic pollution declined by more than 19 percent.
Federal Emergency Management Agency
- Cut in half the time it takes for assistance to reach disaster victims.
- Reduced administrative costs by about $35 million by employing new technologies to register disaster applicants, conduct property inspections, process information, and distribute checks for disaster-related housing needs.
- Increased the number of flood insurance policies by 22 percent.
- Worked with Congress to pass the Hazard Mitigation and Relocation Assistance Act which created a "buyout" program to relocate flood-damaged structures. More than 12,000 properties in over a dozen states have taken part and will never be damaged by floods again. In Missouri, the buyout program will save over $200 million over 10 years.
- Reduced two layers of management and doubled the employee-to-supervisor ratio.
- Reduced internal regulations by 30 percent; on schedule to reduce them by 50 percent by the end of fiscal year 1996.
General Services Administration
- Reduced workforce by 28 percent and operating costs by 21 percent.
- Found savings or avoided expenditures of $11.7 billion while improving customer service.
- Separated policy and oversight functions from operations.
- Already saved $300 million with new leasing practices.
- Cut $1.36 billion from new real estate projects.
- Saved $7.4 billion by not spending money on computer systems with cost overruns and other problems.
- Negotiated lower airfares and car leases for federal employees' official travel.
- Negotiated lower long distance telephone service, saving $200 million a year.
- Consolidated vehicles under the Fleet Management Program and saved taxpayers $7.2 million.
- Other management improvements have saved an additional $22.8 million.
- Using the government purchase card, federal agencies get better, faster service and will save $475 million.
- Turning the GSA real estate leasing program into a lean, effective, and competitive business. Other agencies can lease buildings themselves, hire contractors to provide guidance or use the "new" GSA leasing services.
- Creating family friendly workplaces by increasing GSA child care centers, 30 telecommuting centers, and numerous governmentwide telecommuting programs.
Department of Health and Human Services
- Reduced workforce by nearly 3,300 through 1995 and is committed to a reduction of 7,000 by the year 2000.
- Provided welfare reform waivers to more than 40 states, involving 10 million Americans.
- Forging new partnerships to provide health, social and community services to all Americans, giving flexibility, and demanding responsibility.
- Slashed the approval time for new, helpful drugs in half.
- Approved 13 new drugs to combat AIDS and HIV infection in record time.
- Cracking down on health care fraud and abuse, saving $42 million in just one year.
- Changing the way cancer drugs are approved, eliminating burdensome regulations.
Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Cut workforce by 2,900 by 1997 and will cut 2,900 more by 2000.
- Increased homeownership by 4.4 million families.
- Cut closing costs related to buying a home through electronic transactions and streamlined operations.
- Condensed 42 mortgage-backed securities processes, saving lenders $50 million annually by eliminating 180,000 sheets of paper that required 400,000 signatures.
- Created Urban Empowerment Zones to attract private investments and create thousands of jobs.
- Created Operation Safe Home to thwart violent crime and drug trafficking in public and assisted housing. Made 8,040 arrests, confiscated 1,038 guns, and seized drugs valued at over $3 million.
- Demolishing 30,000 of the worst public housing units and replacing them with more attractive, less dense communities of apartments.
The Intelligence Community
- On schedule to cut 23 percent of workforce by 2000.
- On schedule to cut budget by 20 percent by 2000.
- New partnerships created between U.S. Intelligence and law enforcement agencies which resulted, for example, in the arrest of the leaders of the Cali drug cartel.
- Invested in technology to cut the need for manpower in areas such as communications, training, and data processing and retrieval.
- Replacing the multiple, outdated personnel systems with a single new human resource management system.
Department of the Interior
- Formed partnerships with other agencies for the first time to resolve long-standing problems.
- Eliminated the Office of Territorial and International Affairs and the Bureau of Mines.
- Reduced Park Service's central office staff by 25 percent, reduced its 10 regional offices to seven and moved hundreds of employees out to the parks, serving visitors.
- Reduced the Bureau of Reclamation's budget, reduced supervisors, and cut management layers from five to three.
- Empowering employees by giving decisionmaking authority to field offices to better serve the public.
- Savings of $1.6 million in 1997 budget by locating the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management facilities together in Denver.
Department of Justice
- Reduced management layers in the Marshal Service from eight to four and consolidated 25 of its organizational units into 11.
- Created 16 Reinvention Laboratories to field test more effective and cost-cutting methods of providing services and products.
- Developed stronger partnerships with states and local governments to fight violent crime.
- Created Community-Oriented Policing Services (COPS) to simplify the process that local governments use to acquire funds to hire 100,000 new police officers.
- Response to name and fingerprint checks is quicker due to the Federal Bureau of Investigations' new customer service standards.
Department of Labor
- Reduced injury and illness rates in the 65 percent of employers who chose a partnership with OSHA in the Maine 200 program, which is being implemented in 13 other states.
- Reduced the average time for case resolution from 14 days to two days in the Wage & Hour Division's Chicago office.
- Streamlined processes so that a worker receives a response from OSHA to a complaint in about three days, instead of the previous 22 days.
- Pension security for Americans is greater; $14 billion has been added to underfunded pension plans covering more than one million employees and retirees; $8.4 million recovered for more than 29,000 garment workers.
- Created school-to-work opportunities for over 500,000 young people.
- One-Stop Career Centers have integrated unemployment insurance, employment, and training services under one roof across America.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
- Reduced the time to design and develop a spacecraft from eight years to four.
- Went from a 77 percent cost overrun to a 5 percent underrun.
- Reduced the cost of building a spacecraft from $600 million to $200 million and by the year 2000, $85 million.
- Maintaining a commitment to key goals even with a 36 percent reduction in budget.
- Reduced workforce by 55,000 employees and contractors.
National Science Foundation
- Increased electronic access for customers to speed proposal approval through "FastLane," an Internet service for NSF customers.
- Developed partnerships with federal agencies to manage the federal investment in science and technology.
- Began phasing out support for routine Internet connections and services to the private sector.
- Reinvented research and education proposals with teams of customers.
Office of Personnel Management
- Decreased workforce by 43 percent and cut administrative costs by 17 percent.
- Decreased the number of supervisors from one for every 7.8 employees to one for every 12 employees.
- Created an employee-owned company to perform government background investigations the first government privatization of its kind which will save $25 million in five years.
- Decentralized government job recruitment and hiring.
- Assists agencies in providing career transition services.
- Eliminated the 10,000-page Federal Personnel Manual, saving about $30 million.
- Eliminated the red tape in applying for government jobs.
Small Business Administration
- Reduced workforce in Washington headquarters by 29 percent.
- Saved more than $250 million in salaries and expenses.
- Increased the number of SBA-guaranteed loans from 24,000 to 56,000.
- Raised more private capital for investment in the last two years than during the previous 15 years combined.
- Added 35 new Business Information Centers and four new One-Stop Capital Shops.
- Eliminated more than 50 percent of SBA regulations and simplified the ones remaining.
- Replaced the one-inch thick business loan application with a one page LowDoc application form.
- Rewrote 25,000 pages of internal operating procedures in plain English and streamlined them.
- Reduced regional office staffs from 50 employees to three.
- Created the U.S. Business Advisor, an Internet site which provides instant access to all SBA regulations.
Social Security Administration
- Achieved world class telephone customer service by ranking above many respected private companies in an independent survey by Dalbar, Inc.
- Modernized payment delivery through electronic banking.
- Increased number of bilingual employees.
- Streamlining and automating claims.
- Cut down the waiting time to see an SSA representative.
- Redesigning disability claims process to create a faster, more efficient process.
Department of State
- Reduced administrative expenses by $139 million; reduced real resources by 20 percent.
- Closed over 30 posts overseas.
- Absorbed a 40-percent increase in passport workload with no increase in staff.
- Cut 25 percent of deputy assistant secretary jobs.
- Set up an 800-number for consular crises.
- Made travel information more available by fax-on-demand and through the Internet.
- Launched interagency teams to pursue priorities such as expanding trade and combating crime more aggressively.
- Combined administrative services like warehousing and printing with other foreign affairs agencies.
- Broadened job-sharing programs and opened a child care center.
Department of Transportation
- Reduced workforce by more than 8,000.
- Increased infrastructure and research investment to highest levels ever.
- Established 36 international aviation agreements to open markets and create jobs for American airlines, increase opportunities for travelers, and improved aerospace and shipbuilding industries.
- Made front line service the top priority, in part by providing one-stop shopping in field offices.
- Shifted Coast Guard staff to the field, decommissioned inefficient older ships and aircraft, and consolidated unneeded offices for a savings of $400 million.
- Cut hiring times for critical air traffic controllers and safety inspectors from seven months to six weeks.
- Reduced 155,000 job descriptions at the FAA to fewer than 2,000 and replaced a foot thick stack of personnel rules with a 41-page booklet.
- FAA's procurement paperwork has been slashed from 233 documents to fewer than 50, and the time required to award contracts has been reduced by half.
- Cut more than 1,200 pages of unnecessary public regulations and simplified an additional 3,000 pages. Cut 89,367 pages of internal regulations.
- Created 74 partnerships with states to cut red tape and stretch federal dollars by attracting private funds for infrastructure.
Department of the Treasury
- Bringing the nation's financial management into the information age in both collecting money and making payments.
- Taxpayers with simple tax returns can now file by telephone and download tax forms from the Internet.
- Cut 40 percent of the paperwork required in the thrift savings institutions' quarterly reports.
- Simplified 70 percent of the Office of Thrift Supervision's regulations and reviewed and simplified all of the Comptroller of the Currency's regulations.
- Cutting business taxpayers' paperwork by switching to electronic tax collection; more than 64,000 employers have voluntarily joined the program.
- Saving $500 million over the next five years for the government and $400 million for the banking industry through delivery of tax payments electronically.
U.S. Agency For International Development
- Reduced workforce by 17 percent and closed 23 field missions to better focus resources.
- Replaced stacks of manuals with a single CD-ROM to allow both the agency and contractors to retrieve information within minutes.
- Developed electronic integrated systems for communications and management of accounting, procurement, budgeting, and personnel.
United States Information Agency
- Cut overseas foreign service officer staffing by 14 percent and foreign national staffing by 16 percent; cut 28 field offices.
- Consolidated overseas broadcasting operations to save $400 million from 1994-1997.
- Cut workforce of the Information Bureau from more than 600 to fewer than 400.
- Improved supervisory ratio of the Information Bureau from 1-to-3 to 1-11.
Department of Veterans Affairs
- Instituted a "Putting Veterans First" customer service program.
- Reduced the medical care application form from 93 to fewer than 20 questions, and eliminated 887 redundant forms to improve timely access to care for veteran patients.
- Consolidated widespread human resources management services into single offices serving each region and reduced overhead, and will improve employee-supervisor ratio to more than 15 to 1.
- Cut 25,799 pages of obsolete internal regulations.
- Piloting a Veterans Universal Access Identification Card with vital information included which will eliminate a significant amount of paperwork and reduce waiting times for veterans.
- Shifting emphasis from hospital-based to outpatient care and to more customer-focused primary health care teams.
Where Do We Go From Here
The point of this short book is just to show you that we "get it" President Clinton and I understand what's wrong with how the government has been doing things and we are turning things around. The battle against the old forces of big government, central control, and mistrust isn't won yet, but everything is moving in the right direction. And, we have a plan to continue the changes.
First, we are turning some of today's agencies into smaller, sleeker organizations that won't look like government at all. They will be like private companies, with a real CEO on contract to cut costs, and a free hand when it comes to the remaining government rules about procurement, personnel, and the like. The British government did this a few years ago, and costs have been dropping steadily. We'll borrow their good idea.
On customer service, we'll stick our necks out even further. The top boss of every agency that touches millions of Americans like the IRS and VA and Customs is on the line to make dramatic improvements in service this year.
Regulatory agencies are on orders to make partnership with businesses their standard way of operating. We have tested it long enough to know it increases compliance with the laws of the land. After all, compliance is what we're after not meaningless hassles. Now we can move beyond pilot programs for partnership into the mainstream.
The same goes for federal grants to state and local governments. No more having to follow the federal rule books to receive federal funds. We will focus on results and consider replacing many grant programs with performance-based partnerships. And to dispel the last vestiges of nameless, faceless bureaucracy, we will give each of our community partners a single, live federal employee, complete with name and face, who will help them with any and all business in Washington, regardless of which agency's turf it is.
Finally, we are going to do better by our workforce. Any Fortune 500 company would be lucky to have a workforce like the federal government's. We need to invest in it: better tools and training, closer partnership between labor and management, more opportunities and challenges for our senior executives.
All of the progress we have made, and all of our plans for the future are focused on one goal restoring the American people's faith in their own system of self-government the people's belief that we can solve our national problems by working together through the institutions of self-government. Faith in government is at a low point, and that lack of faith threatens the nation's future. Government can't do everything, and it certainly shouldn't try. But some national problems like drugs, violence, poverty, and pollution can be solved only by Americans working together through our system of self-government. If we lose faith in that, we abandon the future to chaos.
Reinvention restores our faith. Americans find government service improving over the counter and over the phone. Business leaders find federal regulators ready to use common sense and to look for common ground. Communities find the walls coming down between agencies and levels of government, and beyond the old walls they find partners ready to do whatever it takes to solve problems. Reinvention is securing the future of self-government in America.
So, if you see government changing, don't keep it a secret. Tell your friends, your business associates, your neighbors. Tell them government can do things right. I'm the first to admit that government isn't the answer to all our problems. But when government has to be part of the solution, more and more, we Americans can count on getting results.