Document Name: 01/12/95: VP Al Gore's Reinvention Phase 2 Remarks
Date: 01/12/95
Owner: National Performance Review
Title: V.P. Al Gore's Reinvention Phase 2 Remarks

Author: Executive Office of the Vice President

Date: January 12, 1995

* Vice President Al Gore's Remarks *

* Reinvention Phase 2 Kickoff *

* January 12, 1995 *

It's good to see you all here today. Thank you for


I want to thank you all for being willing to spend

the next few months of your time and your energy and

your creativity reinventing government.

You are now -- each and every one of you -- central

figures in an historic event. You are going to play

pivotal roles in one of America's most important

transitions -- the transition from yesterday's

government to the government of the twenty-first

century -- the transition from the government of our

parents and grandparents, to the government of our

children and of our grandchildren.

The task before you -- and the opportunity before

you -- is greater than most people in government

service ever experience. But I know that people in

government service have a great capacity for

selfless, hard work and for creativity. And I

understand the desire that brought you into

government service in the first place -- the desire

to make a difference, the desire to contribute to

your country. So, I am confident that you are equal

to this task, and I know that you are eager for this


Over a year ago, a group of government workers very

much like yourselves completed the first National

Performance Review. You will now conduct the second

National Performance Review.

The first NPR group found good news, and they found

bad news. The good news is that federal workers are

nothing like their negative stereotype. They're not

stupid, not lazy, and not satisfied with just going

through the motions and following rules. Federal

workers work hard; they're smart; and they want to

do a good job.

The bad new was our systems -- our systems of

management, our systems of organizing, our systems

of controlling money, and procurement, and

personnel. All of our systems were based on MISTRUST

of the perfectly good people -- the absolutely GREAT

people -- who work for the government. And systems

based on mistrust are expensive and


So, just over a year ago, we set out to change the

systems. To change them from central control based

on mistrust, to systems that will capitalize on the

intelligence, good judgment, and dedication of our

people -- systems that are based on TRUST, and that

provide federal workers the OPPORTUNITY to do a good

job for America.

We've made a lot of progress in changing to systems

of trust and opportunity, and we are not, in any

way, giving up or slowing down or turning our

attention away from that campaign.

Now, President Clinton and I are asking you to add

new intensity, and a new dimension to the

reinvention campaign.

Now it is time to complete the transition within

government, and time to extend the same principles

of trust and opportunity to the states, and to

communities across the country, to businesses, and

to individuals. If America is to regain trust in her

government, America's government must reinvent

itself based on trust.

That is what the government of the future is all

about -- trust and opportunity.

- It is about trusting communities and individuals

to make good decisions -- giving them the

opportunity to solve their own problems. That's

the kind of thing we have already decided to do

with HUD and Transportation grants, and with

public housing, and with job training. We want you

to look for ways to do more.

- Government of the future is about trusting in the

vigor of the competitive, private marketplace to

produce better service, higher quality products,

and greater efficiency than public or private

monopolies have been able to produce. We want you

to look for those opportunities.

- Government of the future is about giving

businesses new opportunities to become trusted

partners in enforcing laws and achieving national

excellence. We are already doing it in some places

like the Customs Office and the Trade Community in

Miami. Look for ways to do it in worker safety,

environmental protection, and the whole range of

regulatory functions. Trust but verify.

- Government of the future is about never

sacrificing our standards of excellence, never

abandoning our responsibilities, but always

discarding the remnants of yesterday's government

-- always discarding the old basic presumption of

mistrust and the excessive interference it leads

to -- always discarding red tape in favor of


If you need a place to start ferreting out

yesterday's government, try the code of federal

regulation. There is plenty to work with -- over

150,000 pages of government rules in scores of

volumes that stretch across 21 feet of book shelves.

I don't expect you to read it all. At one minute a

page, reading eight hours a day, five days a week,

allowing two weeks vacation, you would be reading

until early April of 1996.

Now, I am not one to jump to conclusions, and I am

not contending that everything in the CFR is

unnecessary -- not without a little more review at

least -- but I am sure you will find passages that

will raise in your mind the question: "Do we really

need to be doing this?"

Just skimming through volume fifty for example, you

will run across this section describing the proper

way to evaluate the odor of fish. I quote:

"For the examination of small units, break the flesh

either with the thumbs or by cutting with a knife in

several places. Hold the cut or broken flesh close

to the nose for evaluation.

"For the examination of large units, a core may be

used. Drill a hole into the hard frozen fish with a

high-speed quarter inch drill. As soon as the drill

is withdrawn, the hole and drillings are smelled."

Grade A fish possesses "good" odor. Grade B fish

possesses "reasonably good odor."

Is this kind of government involvement useful? Is it

effective? Of course, government must be involved in

food safety. But, is there a way we could rely on

market incentives and people's common sense instead

of government interference? Can we get the

government's nose out of this business?

I do apologize for the pun, but keep asking

yourselves that basic question as you review

agencies and programs.

Your job is to reinvent a government of the people

-- where trust and opportunity are moved out of

Washington back to communities and individuals.

Your job is to reinvent a government for the people

-- where success is measured in terms of results

that our customers care about.

President Clinton and I want government reinvented

by the people -- by you, the smart, hard working

federal workers who have too long been maligned, and

too long been mistrusted. You deserve better. You

deserve this chance to make a difference.

The one thing we don't want -- the thing it is your

job to get rid of -- is government ON the people.

Yesterday's government is too much of a burden on

the people. Yesterday's government interferes too

much with the people. The people don't want so much

burden. They don't want so much interference.

They don't want yesterday's government. But neither

do they want to eliminate government. They do want

tomorrow's government.

They want to know that we "get it." They want the

same customer-driven, results-oriented, quality

management they can see in the private sector and in

some public organizations.

So, that's what you're here for. That's your task,

and that's your great, historic, once-in-a-lifetime,

brag-to-your-grandchildren-about-it, opportunity.

This is really big.

And you have to think big. Big and bold. Big and

bold and outside the box.

Whatever aspect of government you will be reviewing,

whatever the agency or program or issue, ask

yourself, is this yesterday's government? Is this

getting the results we need today and for the

future? How can I change things to create trust and

opportunity for America's children in the

twenty-first century?

President Clinton and I want the benefit of your

boldest, most creative thinking. We want you to

consider every option that can achieve the goal.

I want the teams to lay out all of the options, even

the ones that are so bold that they make you

nervous. I want Cabinet Secretaries and agency heads

and Elaine Kamarck and Bob Stone to bring forward

all of the options, even the ones that are so bold

that they make them nervous. And I will discuss the

options with the President, even some that are so

bold that they make my eyes wide.

We might not chose the boldest ideas you can come up

with. But we want to know what they are.

I encourage you to take the risk of having your

co-workers laugh at you bold ideas. If you are not

taking some risks, you are not creating the

government of tomorrow.

I want to say a special word to agency heads and

senior managers who are here today. Its about our

responsibility to people who have chosen careers of

government service and whose jobs are now threatened

by the historic changes we must bring about.

I want you to pay special attention to helping these

people through the transition. Jim King has a

variety of programs that you should make good use

of. And work with your union partners very closely.

I don't have any set formula for you to follow. But

you must deal with your people openly, honestly, and

with great respect.

Make it your personal commitment to see that they

all come through with the dignity they deserve and

as much future opportunity as you can provide. When

it is all over, this is the part that we will

measure ourselves by -- how we treated our people.

Now, it's time for all of you gathered here today to

begin to change the course of American history. You

are going to help America shed the remnants of

yesterday's government. You are going to reinvent a

government of trust, a government of opportunity, a

government that you will be proud to tell your

grandchildren that you helped to create.

I want each of you to be able to look back on this

effort as the most exciting and rewarding part of

your entire career in federal service.

Good luck. I'll be with you all the way.
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