NATIONAL PARTNERSHIP FOR REINVENTING GOVERNMENT
(formerly NATIONAL PERFORMANCE REVIEW)
HELPING FEDERAL WORKERS
CREATE A GOVERNMENT
THAT WORKS BETTER AND COSTS LESS
VOL. 1, NO. 1, FEBRUARY 18, 1994
INSIDE THIS ISSUE.....
- IMPROVED CUSTOMER SERVICE HOLDS KEY
- REDUCING THE FEDERAL WORKFORCE
- REINVENTION LAB UPDATE
- NPC RECOMMENDS
- PERSONNEL CHANGES
- STATUS REPORT
- CALENDAR OF EVENTS
IMPROVED CUSTOMER SERVICE HOLDS KEY TO REINVENTION
Recognizing that improved customer service is essential to
restoring trust in government, President Clinton issued
Executive Order 12862, Setting Customer Service Standards in
September 1993. This Executive Order initiated a government-wide
customer service improvement program that sets the standard for
services provided to the public as equal to the best in business.
By September 1994 each federal agency that has
customers will develop a Customer Service Plan. The
plan will clearly and concisely explain to the American
people what they can expect from the agency.
Managers tasked with the challenge of developing
Customer Service Plans asked the National Performance
Review and the Federal Quality Institute for "how to"
help. That help began as two "Putting Customers First"
conferences. The first, held on November 9, 1993 at
the Ft. Myer Officers Club, was attended by 400 senior
managers. The second was a working conference where
400 program managers identified what they needed to do
to develop agency plans. They agreed that regardless
of whether their agency administers benefits, enforces
laws, regulates industries, or provides direct
services, managers need to:
While participants agreed these were the most important
aspects of improving customer service, they were not
- Clarify the mission of your agency. Focus on
why you are in business. Identify who your
- Ask your customers what they want, rather than
assuming you know what matters to them.
- Find out if your customers are satisfied with
the service you are giving them.
- Finally, develop a simple customer service
philosophy that everyone -- employees and
customers alike -- can understand.
the only ones suggested. If you would like to know
more about what went on at the Hunt Valley Conference,
including highlights of speeches by Frances Hesselbein,
Joel Barker, Ralph Stayer, and Michael Hammer, you can
obtain the information by sending a blank e-mail
message to firstname.lastname@example.org. NPR has also
developed a customer service mailing list. If you
would like to be added, call (202) 632-0150 X155.
REDUCING THE FEDERAL WORKFORCE:
During the State of the Union address on January 25,
1994, President Clinton referenced the National
Performance Review's (NPR) recommendation to reduce the
federal workforce ". . .by 252,000 people over the next
five years. By the time we have finished, the federal
bureaucracy will be at its lowest point in 30 years."
Unfortunately, some federal workers have interpreted
this recommendation as an assault on government
employees, when in fact, the Administration's primary
goal is rather to empower federal employees by providing them
with greater flexibility and discretion.
THE REAL STORY BEHIND THE 252,000
Vice President Al Gore reviewed carefully the NPR's
recommendation to reduce the government workforce.
During his "Town Hall" meetings at several federal agencies, the
Vice President stressed repeatedly that federal employees
"are good people trapped in bad systems" and that his goal was to
reinvent those systems in order "to let our workers pursue
In reinventing government systems, and thereby
providing workers with the flexibility necessary to pursue
excellence, the Vice President and the NPR recognized that
agencies must be freed from the burdens of overregulation and
Therefore, the NPR's recommendation to shrink the federal
workforce is targeted at positions of overcontrol and
micromanagement (headquarters, supervisors, auditors,
accountants, and specialists in budget, personnel,
procurement, and finance). Approximately 700,000 people work in
these positions of central control. The NPR wants to reduce
dramatically these control structures, thereby providing greater
flexibility to federal workers. The NPR has recommended that
some of the savings from these reductions be invested back into
the federal workforce in the form of new management tools, such
as training, quality management, and performance measurement.
Of course, achieving a 12 percent reduction in the
federal workforce will not be easy. In recognition of this
fact, the Vice President has offered the following commitment to
ease the transition for workers: "If an employee whose job is
eliminated cannot retire through our early retirement program,
and does not elect to take a cash incentive to leave government
service, we will help that employee find another job offer,
either with government or in the private sector." As many
federal employees know, a key element in pursuing an easy
transition will be obtaining government-wide buyout authority for
eligible federal workers to retire early, as recommended by the
NPR. Although the Congress has not yet granted such authority to
all government agencies, the Administration is committed to
working with the Congress in the 1994 legislative session to pass
buyout legislation. Three cabinet secretaries and
representatives from 13 other agencies testified on the need for
buyout legislation before two subcommittees of the House Post
Office and Civil Service Committee on February 1, 1994. The
House and Senate passed different versions of buyout authority
before their February recess. Action is expected to resume when
Congress returns to session.
The overall goal of reinventing government is to move away
from a government that is overly centralized and distrustful of
its workforce, a government that struggles under the crippling
burden of overregulation and hierarchical, bureaucratic
second-guessing; to create instead a government that empowers its
workforce, fosters innovation, and truly focuses on delivering
the best quality service to its customers. Reducing the
structures of overcontrol and micromanagement will not only yield
a smaller federal workforce, it will also give us a more
empowered, more inspired, and more productive workforce.
NETRESULTS LINKS REINVENTORS ACROSS GOVERNMENT
The Council of the Chehalis Tribe in Washington State knew
NPR's recommendations for the Department of the. Interior even
before President Clinton had finished his remarks at the
September 7, 1993, White House unveiling of "From Red Tape to
Results". More than 100,000 other people also used their
computers to download the text of the report within the
next week. The NPR received more than 150 examples of silly
regulations within 48 hours of a request on the Internet. NPR's
request moved instantly to and among federal employees and other
citizens using computer bulletin boards, electronic mail lists,
computer conferences, and other electronic forums.
This experience illustrates the NPR's goals for information
technology. The NPR wants to "develop integrated electronic
access to government information and service." The NPR also
wants to engage federal employees and the public in action to
ensure that the NPR recommendations do not gather dust on the
shelf. "Networking epitomizes and creates the new government
culture," according to Andy Campbell, a guru of the NPR's
communication strategy called NetResults. "We want to bring
together government workers and their citizen customers to
discuss and re-engineer the way government does business. These
forums both epitomize the new culture and are the means by which
we build the new culture. Empowerment is key to creating a
government that works better and costs less. What we call
NetResults creates a way for everyone across the county to learn
and participate in what reinventing government is all about.
People in NPR networks talk to each other, sometimes face to
face, sometimes keyboard to keyboard. Computers and links among
computers, particularly Internet, support a national community
that can discuss and act on the NPR recommendations."
As the first step in empowering federal workers, NetResults
provides easy access to all of NPR's information. Anyone with
access to e-mail, can send a blank message to
"email@example.com" and automatically receive
instructions on how to use e-mail to access NPR documents
(including a catalog of available documents and this newsletter).
NPR-related items include:
As a second step, the NPR is facilitating communication
among reinventors by sponsoring networks to develop new
solutions and consensus on government issues. NetResults
currently provides an umbrella for networks of people interested
in working together to implement the NPR recommendations in the
- Executive Orders and Presidential Memoranda
- The proceedings from the December 1993 Customer
- The NPR Report comments made to computer
conferences on specific reinvention topics, such as
streamlining and performance measurements.
areas of human resource management (PeopleNet), performance
measurement (MeasureNet), and information technology (TechNet).
The NPR is also supporting existing and new networks concerned
with budget, grants, social services, and finance. Increasingly,
these human networks are using electronic conferences to develop
and share information.
Those who want to join NetResults and get more information
on "gopher" locations offering the NPR documents and conferences
on NPR issues should contact one of the co-chairs of the NPR's
NetResults: Andy Campbell (Fax 202/632-0390; phone 632-0150 x146
(Andy.Campbell@npr.gsa.gov)) or Vincette Goerl (Fax 202/632-0390;
phone 632-0150 x172(Vincette.Goerl@npr.gsa.gov)).
OPM BIDS FAREWELL TO FEDERAL PERSONNEL MANUAL
On January 27, James King, Director of the Office of Personnel
Management, abolished the 10,000 page Federal Personnel Manual
(FPM). This was a year ahead of the NPR proposed date of
December 1994. With the help of federal agencies, employee
unions, EEO offices and professional management organizations,
OPM has cut more than 70 percent of the FPM, therefore allowing
federal agencies to implement their own directives on hiring,
classification, performance management, and reward systems. The
Vice President heralded this action as, ". . . an important step
in creating a government...that empowers its employees and serves
better its customers, the American people." A Provisional System
that will sunset in December 1994 succeeds the FPM.
GAO REPORT SUPPORTS NPR RECOMMENDATIONS
On December 3, 1993, the GAO released "Management Reform: GAO's
Comments on the National Performance Review's Recommendations".
Of the 384 NPR recommendations, GAO disagreed with only one
(DOL09, "Create a Boundary Spanning Workforce Development
The GAO agreed or generally agreed with 262 recommendations and
offered no comment on 121 for which it did not have enough
information to make a determination. The GAO report also stated
that the NPR did not go far enough in its recommendations on
government change. Copies of the GAO report can be obtained by
calling (202) 512-6000 or by writing GAO directly at P.O. Box
6015, Gaithersburg, MD, 20884-6015 (report #GAO/OCG-94-1).
WOULDN'T YOU LIKE TO WORK IN A PLACE LIKE THIS?
These success stories are being repeated in more than 100
reinvention laboratories throughout government that are
experimenting with change as the result of an invitation from
Vice President Gore. In April, the Vice President wrote to all
departments asking them to "designate two or three programs or
units to be laboratories for reinventing government... . The
point is to pick a few places where we can immediately unshackle
our workers so they can re-engineer their work processes to fully
accomplish their missions -- places where we can fully delegate
authority and responsibility, replace regulations with
incentives, and measure our success by customer satisfaction."
- Veterans could not find out what was happening to
their claims which had to cross as many as 23 desks for a
decision. Now they are getting such fast service that they
do not need to ask. The same re-engineering that provides
such good service at the VA Benefit Claims Regional Office
in New York City also ensures that answers come quickly --
wait time is now three minutes for walk-in customers.
- GSA's New York City Federal Supply Center is getting
quality products for their federal customers by teaching
statistical quality control to their suppliers.
- The Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage is
redesigning its procurement and personnel systems as part
of a strategic plan to provide competitive health
care services to its Alaska Native customers.
- The Bonneville Power Administration is applying business
principles to become customer-focused, cost-conscious, and
- Cincinnati's OSHA area office has given its investigators
more responsibility accompanied with authority. They used
to have to check regularly with supervisors, and turn their
cases over to administrative clerks and other specialists
along the way. Now the investigator "owns" the case and
does virtually all the work, all the way, seeking advice
from the boss when needed. The investigator has more
control, more variety, and more focus on outcome rather
The Vice President has defined reinvention labs this way, "In
my opinion the Labs are doing the same things as the rest of the
agencies are going to do -- only they're doing them faster. I
see the Reinvention Labs as setting the pace for their agencies,
for their departments -- constantly striving to find new and
better ways of doing things, scanning the horizon for ways to do
jobs better and faster."
CONFERENCE HELPS LABORATORIES
The Vice President's video-taped remarks capped the "Reinventing
for Results Conference" convened by the NPR and the General
Services Administration in October to help laboratories answer
the frequent question, "How do I get started?" Conference
goals were to "build a common vision, build enthusiasm, learn
from success, share information to solve common problems, and
build a learning network." Conference topics ranged from vision
to practicalities like how to obtain waivers and measure results.
Rosabeth Kanter of Harvard showed that change is an opportunity,
not a threat, to workers who continually learn new skills to
prepare themselves to respond to emerging needs. Tom Peters
shouted "Just Do it!" as he charged the audience to become
Raging, Inexorable Thunder Lizard Evangelists for Reinvention.
Proceedings from the conference are available through email, see
NATIONAL PARTNERSHIP COUNCIL PROPOSES
Increased worker participation in workplace decisions;
decentralized and flexible hiring; fewer job categories and
simplified pay ranges within national criteria; and full employee
involvement in design and implementation of performance
management and award programs -- these are among the far-reaching
recommendations for civil service reform forwarded to
President Clinton Monday, January 31, 1994, by the National
Partnership Council (NPC) as it unanimously adopted its "Report
to the President on Implementing Recommendations of the
National Performance Review".
NEW PERSONNEL SYSTEM TO THE PRESIDENT
The NPC was created October 1, 1993, by Executive Order 12871,
Labor Management Partnerships. It was created to "establish a
new form of labor-management relations throughout the executive
branch to promote the principles and recommendations adopted as a
result of the National Performance Review." The National
Performance Review found current civil service rules incompatible
with cutting red tape and empowering employees, and therefore
developed proposals that emphasized decentralizing personnel
policy and employee involvement.
As constituted by the Executive Order, the NPC is composed of
representatives from the three largest unions representing
federal employees, the Public Employee Department of the American
Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations
(AFL-CIO), and seven federal agencies, including the Federal
Mediation and Conciliation Service and the Federal Labor
Recommendations in the report to the President address
labor management partnerships, hiring, classification and pay,
and performance management. To find common ground to solve
disagreements in the new partnerships, the NPC recommended a
"good government standard" for negotiations that would also be
applied by third party neutrals in resolving disputes.
The NPC also supported alternative dispute resolution as a
simpler and more effective method of handling disagreements.
During their meeting before a packed Office of Personnel
Management (OPM) auditorium, Council members spoke to the
historic nature of both the Council's recommendations for
reforming human resource management in the federal government and
of the labor management partnership through which the
recommendations were developed. James King, Director of the OPM,
called the proposals, "a specific and workable way to make the
federal government more responsible." John Sturdivant, President
of the American Federation of Federal Employees called the
recommendations, "a revolutionary direction, . . . in an
WHY REINVENT? You'll Never Want to Go Back. "You'll never want
to go back to the old way, once you feel the exhilarating
successes that come from bringing everyone onto the team of a
reinvented work place," says Doug Farbrother, veteran of the
Defense Department Model Installations Program and NPR staff
NATIONAL PERFORMANCE REVIEW
"From Red Tape to Results" contains 384 recommendations requiring
approximately 1,200 individual actions.
STATUS REPORT ON IMPLEMENTATION
About 300, or 25 percent, of all actions require legislation.
The executive branch has the authority to implement the rest.
Accomplishments highlighted here include legislation, Executive
Orders and Presidential Memoranda, OMB actions, and agency
1993 Session of Congress Advanced Reinvention
Congressional interest in reinvention was signaled early with
passage of the Government Performance and Results Act in July
1993. The act requires that federal agencies launch pilot
projects and then, beginning in 1998, all federal agencies must
develop strategic plans and measure outcomes.
Of the 300 actions requiring legislation, Congress has
already adopted several NPR proposals including the elimination
of the wool and mohair subsidy program and the establishment of a
voluntary leave transfer bank. Public Law 103-87 required the
Agency for International Development to implement all NPR
recommendations, submitting legislation to Congress where needed.
The Treasury and Postal Service appropriations bill allowed the
31 agencies covered by the bill (e.g., Treasury, GSA, IRS) to
carry over 50 percent of any savings in operating costs. Senator
Byrd, Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, helped remove
FTE floors from his committee's pending appropriations bills.
The Labor Department's FY 1994 appropriations bill adopted two
NPR recommendations (DOL01, to enhance reemployment programs for
occupationally disabled federal workers, and DOL20, to reduce
fraud in the Federal Employees Compensation Program).
PROCUREMENT AND PERSONNEL SLATED FOR 1994 ACTION
Administration legislative priorities for reinventing
government included buyout authority, procurement reform, and
personnel reform as Congress returned to session January 25. At
a February 1 hearing before the House Committee on Post Office
and Civil Service, the Administration argued that buyout
authority was needed to avoid disruptive effects on organizations
and workers from changes that reduce the size of the federal work
force. The House and Senate passed different versions of buyout
authority before their February recess. Action is expected to
resume when Congress returns to session. A likely vehicle for
procurement reform is Senator John Glenn's Federal Acquisition
Streamlining Act of 1993 (S. 1587). Senate action will also be
sought on the Government Reform and Savings Act, an
Administration proposal containing 62 NPR provisions. The House
version (H.R. 3400), with modifications to the original proposal,
passed November 22, 1993. House action dropped provisions for a
year-end spending carryover authority, the civil service buyout
provisions, and reform of the helium program. The House also
added 16 non-NPR provisions.
EXECUTIVE ORDERS AND PRESIDENTIAL MEMORANDA
Seventeen Presidential directives have been issued over the
past five months to implement NPR recommendations. They are (in
- The President's Community Enterprise Board, Presidential
Memorandum, Sept. 9, 1993.
- Streamlining the Bureaucracy, Presidential Memorandum,
Sept. 11, 1993.
- Setting Customer Service Standards, Executive Order 12862,
Sept. 11, 1993.
- Elimination of One-Half of Executive Branch Internal
Regulations, Executive Order 12861, Sept. 11, 1993.
- President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, Executive
Order 12863, Sept. 13, 1993.
- Regulatory Planning Review, Executive Order 12866, Sept.
- Agency Rulemaking Procedures, Presidential Memorandum,
Sept. 30, 1993.
- Negotiated Rulemaking, Presidential Memorandum, Sept. 30,
- Report of Regulations Reviewed, Presidential Memorandum,
Sept. 30, 1993.
- Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee, Executive Order
12870, Sept. 30, 1993.
- Implementing Management Reform in the Executive Branch,
Presidential Memorandum, Oct. 1, 1993.
- Labor-Management Partnerships, Executive Order 12871, Oct.
- Enhancing the Intergovernmental Partnership, Executive
Order 12875, Oct. 26, 1993.
- Streamlining Procurement Through Electronic Commerce,
Presidential Memorandum, Oct. 26, 1993.
- Establishment of the National Science and Technology
Council, Executive Order 12881, November 23, 1993.
- President's Committee of Advisors on Science and
Technology, Executive Order 12882, November 23, 1993.
- Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in
Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations, Executive
Order 12898, February 11, 1994.
Agencies are moving to implement the NPR's recommendations. Of
the 1,200 actions in NPR's reports, agencies report action
underway for over 700 of them. The following is a sample of
- Agencies have created about 100 reinvention labs to test
out the concepts of reinventing government. The labs are a
testing ground for agency innovations, deregulations,
streamlining, and other NPR proposals.
- Agriculture has moved to close surplus field offices. HUD
has announced it will close its regional offices and its
state offices will report directly to headquarters.
- A half-dozen agency heads are preparing to sign performance
agreements with the President. These agreements will help
create a more results-oriented environment and a clear
sense of priorities.
- A majority of the NPR's legislative recommendations appear
in agencies' FY 1995 budgets.
- NASA, GSA, OPM, and Customs have testified before Congress
on their progress; in total, Congress has held more than 40
hearings on the NPR proposals and agency actions.
Paperwork Reduction Act Clearance of Voluntary Customer
Surveys. To support the President's executive order on
customer service, OMB has created a fast-track approach to
process agency requests for customer surveys. The approach
grants "generic" clearances for surveys where the response
is voluntary. OMB clearance should now take less than two
On February 1, 1994, OMB announced 53 pilot projects in 21
agencies under the authority of the Government Performance
and Results Act of 1993.
FY 1995 BUDGET SHOWCASES REINVENTION
Reinvention continued to roll out as the Executive Branch
published President Clinton's 1995 budget. Released on February
7, the 1995 budget features a chapter on reinvention successes
and initiatives. The budget proposals themselves contain most of
the NPR's agency recommendations that require legislation.
Fiscal year 1995 agency justifications, the documents that detail
each agency's budget request, also showcase reinvention progress
"The best book on management available in America," is
what Max DePree, author of the popular, "Leadership is an
Art", says about the NPR's report, "From Red Tape to Results".
The key to reinvention thinking, the NPR report is available from
the Government Printing Office, Random House, Penguin Books
and through Internet. Other NPR staff members' recommendations
More? NASA Librarian, Jeffrey Michaels ((202) 358-0172
or Internet: JMichael@NHQVAX.HQ.NASA. GOV) will share his
extensive bibliography covering 28 management topics including
"Teams and Teamwork," "Creating the Empowered Organization," "The
Benchmarking Process," and "Reengineering."
- Michael Barzelay, "Breaking Through Bureaucracy"
- James A. Belasco and Ralph C. Stayer, "Flight of
the Buffalo: Soaring to Excellence, Learning to Let
- Peter Block, "The Empowered Manager"
- Stephen Covey, "Seven Habits of Highly Effective
- John J. DiIulio, Jr., Gerald Garvey, and Donald
F. Kettle, "Improving Government Performance"
- Peter Drucker, anything by the giant of 20th
century management thought
- Michael Hammer and James Champy, "Reengineering
the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution"
- Kenneth Johnson, "Beyond Bureaucracy: A Blueprint
and Vision for Government that Works"
- Jessica P. Lipnack and Jeffrey S. Stamps, "The
- David Osborne and Ted Gaebler, "Reinventing
- Tom Peters, "Liberation Management"
- Peter Senge, "The Fifth Discipline."
SEVEN NPR REPORTS ISSUED
In early February the NPR began publishing the accompanying
reports that provide background to the summary NPR report. The
first seven reports published were: "Strengthening the Partnership
in Intergovernmental Service Delivery," "Improving Customer
Service," "Rethinking Program Design," "Improving Regulatory Systems,"
"National Aeronautics and Space Administration," "National Science
Foundation/Office of Science and Technology," and "Department
of Interior." These reports are available through GPO, NTIS and
electronically (see NetResults).
GORE CITES REINVENTION LICENSE
TO EMPOWER FEDERAL WORKERS
"Empowering Employees to Get Results," one of four themes that
organizes the National Performance Review's recommendations,
is a favorite of Vice President Gore. Gore illustrated the
notion of employee empowerment, also a key theme in Osborne and
Gaebler's book, "Reinventing Government", at the Reinventing for
Results Conference by citing the Montgomery County Police
Department's guidance to its officers:
"When considering taking a specific action at the workplace, ask
yourself the following questions:
If the answer is yes to all of these questions, then, don't ask
permission, just do it!"
- Is it the right thing for the community?
- Is it the right thing for this organization?
- Is is ethical and legal?
- Is it something you're willing to be accountable
- Is it consistent with the organization's values and
WHY REINVENTION ROUNDTABLE?
Our goal is simple: our newsletter is part of the National
Performance Review's strategy to bring all federal workers into
the reinvention movement. The NPR wants you to apply the
principles of reinvention to whatever you do and to know and
support the proposals affecting your specific work that are
contained in Vice President Gore's September 7, 1993, report "From
Red Tape to Results: Creating a Government that Works
Better and Costs Less." Reinvention Roundtable contains
government-wide information on reinvention which agencies are
free to use in other formats.
If this sounds mission-driven, we mean for it to. However,
reinvention comes from shared vision. Many of you already
support reinvention whether you use reinvention lingo or not;
others need more information. We want to give you the
information that will motivate you and enable you to become a
reinvention leader wherever you are in the federal government.
We look forward to hearing from you, the reader. What kind
of information do you need? What barriers do you face in your
work? How can we ensure success? Write the Editors, Reinvention
Roundtable, fax (202) 632-0390; phone (202) 632-0150; email:
PLEASE SHARE THIS NEWSLETTER WITH A COLLEAGUE
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Produced by Staff of the
National Performance Review
750 17th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20006
REINVENTION IN 1994
- February 7
Release of President Clinton's FY 1995 budget emphasizing
- February 8
Leaders of federal managers and professional associations meet
with Vice President regarding reinvention
- February 9
Vice President Gore addresses grassroots leaders of the American
Federation of Federal Employees
- March 7
Six month status report on implementation of National Performance
- March 8
Federal agencies scheduled to report on status of customer
"Total Quality Leadership: Spring Satellite Seminar Series."
Contact Quality Learning Series, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
(800)835-4730 (partnered with Federal Quality Institute).
Note: this is an ASCII file of the first issue of the National
Performance Review newsletter, "Reinvention Roundtable." Encapsulated
Postscript files will also be posted soon. Please contact
NPR if you would like help in getting copy with graphics that you
could reproduce and distribute to others.