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Winter 1996-97

Helping Federal Workers Create A Government That Works Better and Costs Less

In This Issue:

NIH Takes the Time Out of Timekeeping Out of the Blue
Reinventing Regulations The New OSHA: Getting a GRIP
Reengineering Travel Labor Management Partnership Winners

Reinvention Roundtable
Vol. 3, No. 2
Winter 1996-97

National Performance Review
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Newsletter Team: Alice Alexander, Wilett Bunton,
Denise Clyburn, Daniel Cohen,
Jeff Goldstein, Candy Kane,
Michael Messinger, Kelly Paisley,
Mike Russell, and Carrie Carnes Kemper
Patricia B. Wood, Editor

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Vice President Gore presented his annual report on the National Performance Review- The Best Kept Secrets in Government - to the President on September 20 in Portland, Oregon. Many people haven’t heard that government is getting better, the Vice President reported. "It’s time for these secrets to get out." "We are also going to have to do better by our workforce," he wrote. "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 partnerships between labor and management, more opportunities and challenges for our senior executives." The report features a front-line federal worker, a homemaker, a business executive, and a mayor. Their stories show that government culture is changing for the better, although many things need to be improved. The book highlights internal reforms (such as procurement), customer service, and partnerships with business and communities.

Reinvention Highlights

The book reports the smallest federal workforce in 30 years and savings of $118 billion because of reinvention. Here’s a sampling of what federal workers and their agencies are doing:

You’ll find many more examples in the book.

How to Get a Copy
The Best Kept Secrets in Government is on NPR’s Web site at http:// Look under “Latest Additions” or the “Library.” You may buy the book from your local bookstore or from the Government Printing Office (Stock #040-000-00676-1). The GPO version includes fact-filled appendices. Order by phone: (202) 512-1800, fax: (202) 512-2250; or Internet:

Federal agencies are finding that the Internet’s picture perfect World Wide Web is the place to be to offer information and services to their customers. Agencies are also using Internet technology to provide information and automate internal processes on “intranets.” At the very least, agencies are using the Internet to connect employees by e-mail all over the country and the globe.

"These technologies allow our government to increase its efficiency," said Vice President Gore in a statement released from the White House on August 1, 1996. The Internal Revenue Service’s industry award-winning Web site (http://www.irs. was immensely popular in 1996, with customers downloading more than 2.5 million forms and publications. The Social Security Administration’s PEBES service ( allows customers to complete a form online requesting a statement of their Social Security earnings along with an estimate of their future benefits. In the past, customers had to call or visit the Social Security Administration to get the form. Here are just a few other activities underway.

Education’s Award-Winning Site

The Department of Education’s INet (Institutional Communications Network) has both Gopher and Web service ( INet had 3.6 million hits in October, 1996, a 168 percent increase in just one year.

Government Executive Magazine recommends the site to “Federal officials who want a lesson in how to set up an attractive, comprehensive, and user-friendly” site. Cyberhound gave it a four-star rating for outstanding content, design, technical merit, and entertainment. For more information, contact Maura Daly at (202) 219-1897 or

Intranet Workshops Help Agencies
Simplify Administrative Functions

NPR and the Government Information Technology Services (GITS) Board are sponsoring workshops that feature Internet/Intranet innovators from business and government. The series is part of an overall strategy to use information technology to reinvent government. The workshops focus on using Internet technology to simplify internal communications and administrative functions, like procurement, travel, and internal phone books. Representatives from Eli Lilly, Federal Express, John Deere, and Visa International are among companies sharing their experiences, including cost savings, in using Internet technology for internal operations. For more information, contact Karen Freeman at (202) 632-0408 or

World Wide Jobs Are on the World Wide Web

The Office of Personnel Management’s entry onto the Web ( in September 1996 was USAJobs. It offers:

For more information, call OPM’s Office of Communication at (202) 606-1800.

“No Lines Online”

“There are no lines online,” President Clinton said on September 20 in Portland, Oregon, as he announced a new consolidated online customer service direct from the White House. You don’t have to know the Web address of federal agencies or even what agency delivers the service. Once on the White House home page (, you are just one click away from the most Commonly Requested Federal Services. Services are displayed by topic, not agency. Want to apply for or change your passport? Click on Travel and Tourism.

What Your Agency Can Do

NPR coordinates the effort among federal agencies to provide this one-stop electronic service. To get involved, contact Stephen Butterfield at (202) 632-0321 or

Reinventors Have a Friend in Cyberspace

The National Performance Review’s newly renovated Web site at is a reinventor’s cyberfriend. You’ll find new features such as a reinvention tool box, a reinvention calendar, and a reinvention lab database.

You can also find the President’s Executive Orders and Memoranda on reinvention, the Government Performance and Results Act, and the status of all National Performance Review recommendations. Or you can search to find the Hammer Awards your department has won.

The site has more than 3,000 reinvention documents. Helpful materials—including older, historical documents—are added every week. The site has a search engine and links to reinvention documents and Web sites all over government. For more information, contact Pat Wood at (202) 632-0223 or


The National Institutes of Health is taking the “time” out of timekeeping. A business engineering team developed a new automated system called "ITAS" for Integrated Time and Attendance System. ITAS is currently operational in two NIH Institutes that served as pilots and will be deployed agency-wide over the next few months.

Timekeeping by Exception

The user-friendly system does most of the work. It moved NIH toward “timekeeping by exception,” according to Gail Grossman, administrative officer at one of the pilots. “If an employee is here an entire pay period and does not take leave, the system automatically generates the timecard, so the employee and the timekeeper do not need to do anything.”

Responsibility Rests with the Federal Worker

The greatest benefit of the system, Grossman said, is that it “can greatly reduce and possibly eliminate the timekeepers’ responsibilities. The system puts more responsibility on employees, allowing them to view and certify their own timecards prior to final supervisory approval. They can also schedule full-day absences in advance.”

National Science Foundation Had the Model

ITAS is flexible enough to handle the full spectrum of employee work schedules. Linda Jackson, administrative officer at the second pilot, said the system runs on Macs as well as personal computers. A system developed at the National Science Foundation is the model for ITAS. The team selected it as the best after researching automated time and attendance systems at other federal agencies.

The National Performance Review recommended eliminating unnecessary, labor-intensive time and attendance paperwork and using technology for what was left. The General Accounting Office released new policy guidelines on March 25, 1996 that permit agencies to get rid of sign-in sheets. “No excuses anymore,” Vice President Gore told participants at a Reinvention Conference in 1996. “It’s time to change.”

NIH Will Share the New System

Richard Drury, Director of Human Resource Systems at NIH, said “We are open to partnerships with other agencies that want to share in the benefits of this initiative.” Contact him at (301) 496-4368 or


When you applied for your passport, did you know to call the State Department? Many people don’t, and it’s frustrating to customers and phone operators alike.

For most Americans, their first contact with government at any level is the phone book. Unfortunately most federal blue page listings read like the agency’s organization chart—names of offices, not services.

A three-year National Performance Review initiative, led by the General Services Administration, set out in 1996 to make government “Blue Pages” more customer-friendly. The Blue Pages Team, made up of federal workers nationwide, is working with about 30 companies that publish 6,200 telephone directories in the United States.

200 Federal Workers Get Hammers for First Phase

The first phase of this mammoth project was celebrated on November 15, when 200 federal employees from 25 federal agencies received Vice President Gore’s Hammer Award. “From Chicago and Indianapolis to New Orleans and Los Angeles—all in all, more than 18 million households in 10 cities will see more user-friendly ‘Blue Pages’ as new phone books hit their doorsteps,” said Dave Barram, Acting Administrator, General Services Administration.

NPR’s Greg Woods, who represented the Vice President at the awards ceremony, said, “From the beginning, fixing the Blue Pages has been a true partnership within the government and with all the major telephone companies across the country. Some of the phone companies really got into it. In fact, Ameritech gave us our first project manager.”

GSA’s Ron Piasecki, who leads the effort for GSA, also praised Southwest Bell and Sprint. Sprint, he said, has decided that the Blue Pages should be a public service and will not charge for the listings.

Blue Pages Project Has a Dream Design

Piasecki also said the first phase improvements—mainly a revised agency template that’s more user friendly—have been so successful that the government teams decided to skip phase two—adding most frequently called numbers. Teams will move right into their third phase “dream design.” This new design is phone numbers organized by function or topics such as Medicare, passports, benefits, or Armed Forces recruiting. Blue pages will include e-mail and Internet Web addresses. This concept was developed by a sub-group of eight agencies, chaired by Carl Montoya at Health and Human Services. This design will be rolled out in Cleveland in May 1997.

Blue Page Pioneers

The inspiration for improving blue pages came from the Federal Executive Board in Denver. An FEB team—with representatives from the General Services Administration, Office of Personnel Management, Government Printing Office and the FEB Board—partnered with U.S. West to lead federal agencies in the Denver area to improve their listings in 1995. Some organizations that have high involvement with the public—such as Social Security, Agriculture, and Transportation—are also pioneers in improving federal phone listings.

Volunteers, Please Call

“As this initiative moves into more and more communities,” Piasecki said, “We need additional volunteers—movers and shakers from federal agencies all over the country.” For more information, contact Jack Finley at (202) 501-3932 or or Bonnie Seybold at (202) 273-3440 or Bonnie.Seybold


Regulatory agencies are using common sense to reinvent the federal regulatory process. Trusting businesses to do the right thing is working.

A 1993 Presidential Executive Order on Regulatory Planning and Review laid the foundation for a regulatory system that meddles less and puts more responsibility in the hands of the people themselves.

The President and Vice President pulled out the stops in February 1995 when they summoned the heads of regulatory agencies to a press conference. We’re going to change the regulatory culture, the President announced. Rethink the entire regulatory process, he told the regulators. Review every reg you’ve got. Cut obsolete regulations. Reward results, not red tape. Negotiate, don’t dictate. Get out of Washington—create grass roots partnerships.

And while you’re cutting back on regs, the Vice President added, write what’s left in plain English. In a Presidential memo that followed, President Clinton said reform of the regulatory system is the“ central part of reinventing government.”

Regulatory Culture Is Changing

Are federal workers changing the regulatory culture? Many outside observers say yes. “In terms of affecting field operations,” says Harvard’s regulatory expert Malcolm Sparrow, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration “is moving very fast. It’s going extraordinarily fast for any organization. For the federal government, it’s lightning speed.” (See story on page 6.)

Richard Zanetti, editor of Chemical Engineering magazine, a McGraw-Hill trade publication, says the Environmental Protection Agency’s first voluntary program worked. The program is a toxic emissions reduction program called 33/50. “I would guess that the taxpayer return on light years ahead of that from traditionally run environmental programs...33/50 may be the harbinger of a changing regulatory rationale.”(See box on page 5.)

“Companies cut more than 750 million pounds of pollution in the time it would take EPA to write a reg. It’s awesome,” said Chris Tirpak, 33/50 deputy. “We were stunned that companies signed up to make these reductions publicly. You take a risk in admitting that you are a big polluter. But companies even signed up for 90 percent reductions and some companies made it. All we did was set the national goals and identify the targets. The companies chose their own methods.”

Building on What Works

The 33/50 program was started in 1991, but the Clinton-Gore Administration did not ignore it, rename it, or get rid of it. Vice President Gore asked federal workers to reinvent government by building on success, not just harping on problems. When the 33/50 program closed in September 1996—after meeting its goals a year early—it had spawned 80 more voluntary programs at EPA. Collectively, these programs are called “Partners for the Environment” and “Regulatory Reinvention Initiatives.”

With partnerships, EPA has changed its emphasis from cleaning up pollution to preventing it. Since 1992, the agency more than tripled the number of members in its partnership programs. More than 7,100 companies now participate. EPA, OSHA, and other regulatory agencies did not give up their responsibility to enforce the rules and apply stiff penalties if it’s necessary. Because they no longer waste time on the “good guys,” they can do a better job going after the cheaters.

What Your Agency Can Do

The Food and Drug Administration, EPA, and OSHA started interagency meetings to share reinvention ideas. Joint meetings have been so successful that they invite other agencies to join. If you would like to join this growing group in the Washington, DC area, call FDA’s Marie Urban or Audrey Borja at (301) 827-0946.

Easy to Read Rules Are Easier to Follow

Part of good customer service means eliminating “bureaucratese” and writing regulations in plain English. NPR’s interagency Plain English team believes that if you write clearer regulations, users won’t have to waste time figuring out what the government means.

Led by Annetta Cheek at Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, the team opened a Plain English web page in December at NPR/plaineng.html. You’ll find a list of agency representatives, samples, and an interactive tutorial. You may reach Annetta Cheek at (202) 452-5099 or e-mail: NPR’s web site includes a page called “Common Sense Regulations” at

Here is a before and after sample from Interior’s Mineral Management Services. Reg writers in this agency won a Hammer Award for their plain English regulations.

Before After
Insufficient estimates also result in interest charges. These exceptions are generated when the actual royalties reported for a given sales month exceed the previously paid royalty estimates on file for that lease. In the “Dear Payor” letter, dated July 8, 1991, and the Federal Register, 57 FR 3435 (January 29,1992) MMS informed you of the procedures for calculating interest for insufficient estimates. If the enclosed invoice(s) include charges for insufficient esti- mates, a detailed insufficient esti- mated used to calculate these charges is also enclosed. How to pay your bill: To avoid penalties as well as further interest, you must pay this bill by its due date.

33/50 Program Achieves
Major Environmental Goal Without One Word of Government Regulation

The Environmental Protection Agency’s voluntary 33/50 partnership program challenged industry to voluntarily reduce 1.5 billion pounds of environmental releases of 17 high-volume toxic chemicals by 33 percent in two years and 50 percent in three years. More than 1,300 companies representing 5,000 facilities participated in the program. On June 26, 1996, Vice President Gore released the most recent (1994) data from EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (industrial chemicals that pose environmental and health concerns). It shows that the program reached its goals a year early. Free of government regulations, paperwork, penalties, punishments, and lawsuits, each company developed its own goals and plans and let EPA know of its commitment in a simple letter.

Exchanging Blue Ribbons for Red Tape

One of the participating companies—3M—nominated the 33/50 team for the Hammer Award, commending it for exchanging “blue ribbons for red tape.” It was the first time a company had nominated a government regulatory agency for the Vice President’s award. NPR Project Director Bob Stone presented the Hammer at 3M’s headquarters in St. Paul on June 18, 1996. He also presented a companion award to 3-M, representing more than 1,300 industry partners, for participating in the 35/50 program.

For More Information

Contact Chris Tirpak, EPA, at (202) 260-7538 or e-mail:


GRIP Is Getting Results and Improving Performance

John Paulk, Safety Director for Horizon Steel Erectors Company, sometimes travels at company expense to tell the public how much his company appreciates the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Stranger than fiction, perhaps, but true—and not an isolated incident.

More and more, businessmen and women are saying they like OSHA—the new OSHA, whose modus operandi has changed from mainly enforcement to increased partnership with industry and labor. The new OSHA is a symbol of the fast-moving reinvention of the federal government’s regulatory system.

Calculating and Counting on Change

Despite a 57 percent drop in workplace fatalities since OSHA was created in 1970, the agency’s job of protecting the health and safety of American workers has been expanding at the same time its resources have been declining. “We simply can’t protect 92 million workers in more than six million workplaces” with 2,000 state and federal compliance officers, said Joe Dear, Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health.

So, Dear created a self-managed “Design Team” in 1994 composed of 17 OSHA employees—compliance officers, managers, union representatives, and support staff from all over the country. (The team later expanded to 27 employees.) Dear gave them a two-year mandate and a blank piece of paper. Their charge: design a new OSHA, drawing from best practices in government and the private sector. The effort is an NPR Reinvention Lab. Team leaders are Leo Carey, representing management, and Ken Maglicic, Vice President, National Council of Field Labor Locals, American Federation of Government Employees. Maglicic works as a compliance officer in the Columbus, Ohio, office.

“I’ve been on a lot of teams,” said team member David Katsock, compliance officer at the OSHA area office in Parsippany, NJ, “but all the others were management-directed.” Not this one, Katsock said. People worked on an equal footing. “Members left their titles at the door,” he said.

Going to the Experts

Team members started by visiting more than 100 front-line staff in area offices to get firsthand information and ideas. Sometimes people were skittish about talking. “When we asked them what worked best, they pulled out their rule books,” said Joel Sacks, staff with OSHA’s Office of Reinvention. “But we’d keep asking, even after hours, ‘What really works?’”

They discovered the agency was relying on one tool—inspections—to do the job, though research showed it would take 87 years for OSHA inspectors to visit every worksite in the country. They concluded that OSHA should add other tools to its reliance on enforcement penalties and citations. “We cannot be everywhere all the time,” said team member Robert Kulick, Area Director at Parsippany.

The Design Team came up with new tools, such as incentives and partnerships with employers, trade associations, unions and other governmental organizations. Partners would work together on the common goal of eliminating hazards to prevent injuries and illnesses. Traditional enforcement would focus on those who chose not to participate in the partnership efforts.

The new OSHA would judge its own performance by its impact on worker health and safety, not the number of inspections, citations, and penalties. Inspectors would stop working autonomously, rulebook in hand, in a reactive, piecemeal approach. Instead, area office staff would work in self-directed, multi-disciplinary teams, using problem-solving techniques and creative approaches to address hazardous working conditions. Two team models emerged. One—the response team—focuses on immediate complaints, referrals, outreach, and fatalities. The other—a strategic intervention team—works on longer-range prevention and partnership. The overall design is called Getting Results and Improving Performance (GRIP).

Making the Design Work

How do you implement such a grand design? The Design Team decided on a pilot test in a couple of offices. The Parsippany and Atlanta East offices would test and refine the concept. If it worked, they would expand it to all area offices.

All the research and evaluation paid off when GRIP was put into practice. “The two best parts of redesign...are employee participation and outcome measurement,” according to Howard Eberts, a union steward on the strategic intervention team in Columbus, Ohio. “By allowing field employees to actively participate in improving the way we do business, our employees have more ownership in our work and take more pride in making our office succeed,” Eberts said.

By the summer of 1996, 15 (of 67) area offices had implemented GRIP and the roll-out continues. OSHA workers have come up with some creative approaches for improving worker safety and health:

Sometimes GRIP teams simply apply common sense and quality management principles to reinvent a traditional approach. For example, OSHA gets lots of “informal” complaints—like phone calls from people who report a workplace hazard, but are unwilling to identify themselves. Before reinvention, OSHA staff wrote a letter to the employer. Meanwhile, the hazard remained, the complainant stewed, and other complaints stacked up—many up to 30 days. OSHA workers in Cleveland and Peoria substituted a quick phone call for the traditional letter to the company and then accepted a faxed response to verify that the employer had fixed the problem.

Cleveland, which receives the highest volume of complaints in the country, reduced the average time between the complaint and abatement from 39 workdays to nine; Peoria reduced its response time from 23 days to five. Backlogs are now rare. OSHA implemented the phone/fax complaint handling process nationwide.

Reinventing Headquarters

Headquarters staff are reinventing their regulations and internal processes as well. For example, OSHA is improving, updating, or eliminating confusing, inconsistent, and duplicative regulations. In partnership with industry and labor, OSHA is revising standards and rewriting them in plain English.

OSHA’s national office has also improved its service to the public. The agency gets about 12,000 requests a month for publications. In the past, mail orders were backlogged, phones went unanswered, and publications were often out of print. The publications staff got a GRIP, too. They cut the time for processing phone or mail orders from six weeks to less than one day and the backlog from 3,000 pieces to under 100.

Information technology also plays a big role in OHSA’s efforts to meet the public’s requests for help. OSHA’s popular Web site (see below) receives close to one million hits a month, mostly from industry. The agency produced a CD-ROM to deliver more information to clients in the swiftest way possible.

Helping Is the Goal

The new OSHA has moved beyond the old focus of punishing employers who fail to meet all its standards. “People will know that we are there to help, not to nail them,” said Design Team member Connie Behee from Boise, Idaho.

Vice President Gore recognized the changes as well when he presented OSHA’s Design Team with a Hammer Award on June 12, 1996. “There really is a new OSHA out there,” the Vice President said. “The fact that you’re doing it will be an inspiration to others.”

After the award presentation, Parsipanny’s Dave Katsock said, “I would do any project with this team. This team could find a way to get to Mars.”

For More Information

See OSHA’s Web site at or contact OSHA’s Office of Reinvention at (202) 219-7725 or e-mail:


The 1997 Defense Authorization legislation, signed by President Clinton into law on September 23, contains the biggest change in government travel rules in 40 years. The new travel provisions, which implement reforms recommended by the National Performance Review, had strong bipartisan support in the Congress.

Implementation is expected to greatly reduce the government’s high expenses in administering travel. Although the new law does not require agencies to use credit cards for travel, the Congressional conference report urged agencies to use their discretionary authority to maximize its use.

A task force of the Joint Financial Management Improvement Program, a government-wide reinvention activity, developed the new legislation and implementing regulations. Call (202) 512-9201 for the name of a task force member who can discuss the travel provisions. Call (202) 512-6000 to get a copy of the JFMIP report, Improving Travel Management Governmentwide. The report is also on the World Wide Web (gopher://


One of NPR’s most popular recent publications—Reaching Public Goals: Managing Government for Results—is on the Web at This resource guide is NPR’s response to the growing demand from government at all levels for resources and information on accountability, performance, and managing for results. Online additions and corrections are made regularly.

Public managers like the new guide. “Job well done! Your clear, user-friendly guide certainly fills a void,” wrote Carolyn Lane with the Louisiana Office of Planning and Budget.

You may get a free, single copy from NPR’s John Keith, (202) 632-0189; Fax—(202) 632-0390, or You may purchase in bulk from the Government Printing Office. The stock number is 040-000-00680-0 and the price is $7.50 each; non-US, $9.38. GPO offers a 25 percent discount for orders of 100 or more. Order by phone: (202) 512-1800, fax: (202) 512-2250; or Internet:


Department of Treasury, U.S. Mint, Philadelphia/AFGE (AFL-CIO), Local 1023 and the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge F1-PA/USA.

U.S. Department of Education/National Council of Department of Education Locals, Council 252, and the American Federation of Government Employees (AFL-CIO)

Directorate of Public Safety and Environmental Affairs, U.S. Army Armaments Research, Development and Engineering Center, Picatinny Arsenal/Federal Uniformed Firefighters, F-169, International Association of Firefighters (AFL-CIO)

Department of Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, North Texas District/National Treasury Employees Union, Chapter 46

Defense Logistics Agency, Defense Distribution Depot, Warner Robins Air Force Base, Georgia/American Federation of Government Employees (AFL-CIO), Local 987

Two partnerships received honorable mention: ( 1) the Social Security Administration/AFGE and (2) the Rock Island Arsenal/Federal Firefighters Association, Local 5, International Brotherhood of Police Officers, Local 513, International Association of Tool Crafters, Local 1, and AFGE, Locals 2134 and 2119


In two years, the labor-management partnership at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia produced $1 million in savings by extending the life of dies used to make impressions on pennies. The partnership at the Philadelphia Mint is one of seven that received 1996 awards from the National Partnership Council.

By experimenting, the Mint teams increased the life of dies from 700,000 impressions to 1.2 million. This meant 20,000 fewer dies each year. Also, the team now ships 95 percent of its orders within two days, beating the customer service standards that call for shipping all orders within three days. The team shipped 100 percent of orders for the Atlanta Centennial Olympics commemorative coins in one day. The partnership also reduced the number of formal grievances by 65 percent. For more information, contact Superintendent Augustine A. Albino at (215) 597-2063 or Bruce Dickerson, President Local 1023 AFGE, at (215) 597-8231.

For More Information on the Seven Winners

seven success stories and contacts are on the NPR Web site at Click on “Initiatives,” then “Partnership with Unions.” Scroll to the September 11, 1996 Office of Personnel Management news release. You may also call Mary Ann Maloney at (202) 606-1800.

PC Computing named Vice President Al Gore’s National Performance Review site ( as one of the “1,001 Best Web Sites” out of about two million.

To link to the other 1,000, go to

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