Reinforcing Success: The Hammer Award
From the start, Vice President Gore has spotlighted the people and teams that were showing the way to
reinvention by giving them a "Hammer Award"
a $6 hammer wrapped in ribbon and mounted with an aluminum frame. It symbolizes the dramatic change from
the days when government paid a bit more for hammers. The awards are highly prized, and teams are eager to
publicize initiatives that they once would have kept under wraps due to fear of criticism. Nearly 500
Hammer Awards have gone to such teams as:
Several agencies followed the Vice President's lead of encouraging reinvention with special awards. For
example, the Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs gives the "Scissors Award" to VA employees who have cut
- the Interior Department team that converted its rules and regulations into "Plain English";
- the Transportation team that, along with their California teammates, figured out how to get the Santa
Monica Freeway back into operation in record time after the Northridge earthquake; and
- the team from the National Park Service that reduced the review time for construction of park visitor
centers and other major projects by over 50 percent.