January 31, 1997, Vol. 3, No. 1

An Information Sheet for Federal Communicators, Managers, Workers, and Their Partners--Pass It On

Federal Officials See Red

Robert Ludlum, Danielle Steel, John Grisham: eat your heart out. The hottest book in town--in Washington, DC at least--is "The Blair House Papers." This bright red book is the pocket-sized version of the roadmap on reinventing government that President Clinton and Vice President Gore gave to the new Cabinet at its January 11th retreat.

Rules to Reinvent By

This small book has a big message. What Strunk and White did for writers with their venerable "Elements of Style," Clinton and Gore have done for government workers. Perhaps the subtitle should be "Elements of Reinventing Government." It's a book of rules. Short ones. Common sense ones. Workable ones. Federal workers tested these rules as they went about creating a government that works better and costs less during the past four years. President Clinton thanked both his management team and career workers. "Many agencies are getting fan mail for providing better service," he wrote.

Vice President Gore wrote, "Public confidence in government has rebounded--up nearly 9 percent since 1993 according to a recent Roper poll." He set the goal for the next four years: "It is time for faster, bolder action to expand our islands of excellence and reinvent entire agencies--time to entirely reinvent every department of government."

At Last Everyone Is On the Same Page

The book directs managers to oversee the shift of power from headquarters to field workers and to foster partnerships and community solutions. But the rules aren't just for managers. "Everyone in government needs to know all the rules of the road to reinvention ..." the Vice President wrote.

It's not a moment too soon. When Washington Post columnist Mike Causey announced the release of the book in "The Federal Diary" on January 30, NPR's phones started ringing. Federal officials sent couriers over. One government worker even walked in off the street. "I want to know what's going on," he said.

Everyone Can Have the Rules

"The Blair House Papers" is on NPR's Web Site ( Click on "Latest Additions." The Government Printing Office has a limited supply at $3 each, with discounts for orders of 100 or more. The stock number is 040-000-00684-2. Call (202) 512-1800 or use the Web:

Industry Group Applauds Reinvention, Hails GSA Officials

The Coalition for Government Procurement is a multi-industry trade association representing nearly 300 companies selling commercial goods and services to the federal government. Its members are responsible for nearly one-half of all commercial product sales made to the federal government each year and represent such diverse industries as information technology, medical products, and furniture. We invited Coalition President Paul Caggiano to write an opinion piece on how industry views federal reinvention. Here are excerpts.

Reinvention continues to be the driving force in government today...The phenomenon of government reinvention has clearly caused reexamination and re-evaluation across nearly all government agencies. Perhaps less recognizable, but no less substantial, has been the impact of government reinvention on those who provide the commercial goods and services that assist government workers in fulfilling their missions.

Perhaps one of the most significant changes to members of the Coalition and other commercial product contractors is the transformation of the General Services Administration's Multiple Award Schedule program. The MAS program is currently a $7 billion program supplying thousands of commercial goods and services to federal customers. While many people can claim at least a portion of the time in the reinvention drivers seat, perhaps no two people have been responsible for such broad reaching positive change as Frank Pugliese, Commissioner, Federal Supply Service, and Bill Gormley, Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Acquisition.

Through their leadership, the General Services Administration's Multiple Award Schedule program is being transformed from an important, but not widely known, part of the annual multi-billion federal commercial procurement market, into perhaps that market's dominating force for years to come. Many of these innovations were chronicled recently in Reinvention Express. (Editor's note: Dec. 18, 1996, Vol. 2, No. 22).

Changes Pugliese and Gormley have initiated or championed have included the elimination of the schedule Maximum Order Limitation, modification of the Price Reduction Clause, the promotion of Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPA's), the creation of GSA Advantage!, the establishment of a schedules marketing office, the encouragement of contractor teaming agreements, and the addition of information technology services to schedule contracts.

Together, these innovations have made the schedules program more attractive to federal users and contractors. Federal workers like the changes because they make the schedules program an even easier way to buy thousands of essential products and services. Contractors like the new methods because they more closely mirror purchasing practices already used in the commercial market.

Because of the leadership Pugliese and Gormley have shown in this area, the Coalition awarded them with its Common Sense in Government Procurement Award in June of 1996. The award has been given only 4 other times in the Coalition's 18 year history...The Multiple Award Schedules program is now a true state of the art procurement program that enables the government to work better at less cost.

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