Reinvention Express, May 3, 1999, Vol. 5, No. 1


National Partnership for Reinventing Government


May 3, 1999, Vol. 5, No. 1

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

Let's Hear It for Government Workers!

Public Service Recognition Week, sponsored by the Public Employees Roundtable, began today with a Breakfast of Champions in Washington, DC. Hundreds of communities over America are recognizing public employees at all levels of government.

"Public employees are doing some of the most innovative things in the work force," said Vice President Gore in a written message. "Front-line government workers are listening to their customers and finding new and better ways to deliver service and do their jobs. Most importantly, public employees, all over this country, are setting new standards of excellence and re-building our trust in government. The expression, 'It's good enough for government' used to have a negative meaning, but now thanks to the work of people like you, 'good enough for government' means top quality." David O. Cooke, Director of Administrative Management, Office of Secretary of Defense, read the message at the breakfast ceremony.

Two Federal Programs Win Awards

The ceremony honored the seven 1999 winners of the Public Service Excellence Awards. The federal winner is the Omaha Immigration and Naturalization District Office. INS knew its service was pretty bad and set out to do something about it. Now, instead of complaints and critical media coverage, the Omaha office gets thank you notes and laudatory editorials. The 838th Engineering Installation Squadron at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, won the community service award. Stories

Free Washington, DC, National Mall Event

A one-hour opening ceremony begins on the Mall at noon on Thursday, May 6, with remarks by members of Congress and music by the Fife and Drum Corps. It will be held between 3rd and 4th Streets NW and Independence and Madison Avenues. Agency and military exhibits will open after the ceremony and remain open until 5 p.m. Exhibits will open again on Friday from 10 to 5, and Saturday from 9 to 4. Military exhibits will remain open an additional day from 9 to 4, Sunday, May 9. For more information, call (202) 401-4344.

Planting Seeds to Transform Government

"You don't just pull out the old and replace it with something new," said author Peter Senge in the May issue of Fast Company. "Something new grows, and it eventually supplants the old." Sounds like what Hammer Award-winning teams of federal workers are their partners over the country are doing. They are planting "seeds" of reinvention, and many of their innovations will change government forever. Almost 40 teams, including Reinvention Labs, got Vice President Gore's Hammer Awards in March and April.

Two recent Hammer winners are:

US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The Acquisition Reform Team pioneered in 1994 the use oral presentations in lieu of written proposals to streamline procurement. They invited vendors to make verbal presentations. Any paper? Just copies of their viewgraphs. Last year, a federal regulation opened this option up to all federal agencies. It saves money and time for industry and government by eliminating staff hours to prepare and evaluate written proposals. Likewise, the Commission's Procurement Reinvention Laboratory Team reduced processing time by 5,500 days and cut $500,000 in administrative costs by using an agency bankcard program. If your agency is interested in doing the same, call Tim Hagen at (301) 415-7305 to learn more.

USWEST-GSA. This public/private partnership revised Denver's Blue Pages, listing government services by subject. This seed was planted in 1996 by a Denver Federal Executive Board team. As the lead agency in the effort, GSA has been working with consumers, publishers, phone companies, and other government agencies to create a helpful, "hassle-free" listing format. So far, the improved version of the evolving product reaches 105 million Americans. News release.

Reinvention News Briefs

Family Re-Union 8: Family and Community-Vice President Al Gore and Tipper Gore will moderate this annual event on June 21-22. It brings together families and those who work with them to discuss and design better ways to strengthen family life in America. Plenary sessions will be televised by satellite broadcast. You are invited to host a Community Conversation at your local TV satellite downlink site. For information, visit Family Re-Union 8.

Semifinalists Selected-Twenty-two federal programs are among the 98 semifinalists in the 1999 Innovations in American Government Awards program. They were selected from more than 1,600 applicants. Details America for Students, a cool demonstration site for college students, opened on May 1. Access America is Vice President Gore's initiative to use information technology to deliver services and improve government productivity. News Release

No Gobbledygook-In April, Vice President Gore recognized the work of more than 800 front line employees in the Veterans Benefits Administration. Three employees accepted the Plain Language Award on behalf of VBA's national "reader-focused writing" team. They are Melodee Mercer, Insurance Service; Chuck Graffam, Vocational Rehab; and Wayne Taylor, Compensation and Pensions. Story. Plain Language

FQCG Honored--The Federal Quality Consulting Group, a federal franchise, received the George Land World Class Innovator Award. Story

National Partnership for Reinventing Government, 750-17th St., NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20006. Send your reinvention stories and calendar items to Pat Wood at or call (202) 694-0063. Reinvention Express is on the Web at To subscribe by e-mail, send a message to Put this message: SUBSCRIBE EXPRESS-L FIRSTNAME LASTNAME (no period). To remove your name from the distribution list, send a message to Put this message in the message block: UNSUBSCRIBE EXPRESS-L (no period). For fax, send your name, organization, and fax number to Cassie Frye at or fax to Cassie at (202) 632-0390.

NPR Home Page Search the NPR Site NPR Initiatives Site Index Calendar Comments Awards Links Tools Frequently Asked Questions Speeches News Releases Library Navigation Bar For NPR site