Since day one, this Administration has been committed to rooting out waste and misspent tax dollars in every agency across the Federal government. From getting unneeded federal properties off our books, to cracking down on improper payments, to reducing the number of federal data centers, we have made great strides in delivering a government that is more efficient and effective for the American people. In addition, this past June, the President and Vice President launched the Campaign to Cut Waste, a redoubling of our efforts to end what doesn’t work and do more for less.
Today, the Administration announced additional steps we’re taking to build on these efforts. This morning, President Obama signed an Executive Order that will cut waste and promote more efficient spending across the federal government. The Order sets bold goals for agencies to reduce spending on travel; limit the number of information technology devices (e.g. cell phones, smartphones, tablets, laptops) that can be issued to individual employees; stop unnecessarily printing documents that can be posted online; shrink the executive fleet of the federal government; and stop using taxpayer dollars to buy swag -- the unnecessary plaques, clothing, and other promotional items that agencies purchase. Overall spending in the areas covered by the Executive Order will be reduced by 20 percent, saving billions.
In addition to today’s Executive Order signing, the Administration also announced this year’s finalists for the 2011 SAVE Award. President Obama launched the SAVE Award in 2009 to enlist frontline Federal employees in the effort to make government more efficient and effective. This year, OMB received nearly 20,000 cost-cutting ideas from employees across the country. This morning, I was joined by OMB Director Jack Lew and Deputy Director Heather Higginbottomin the Situation Room for a video-teleconference with this year’s finalists to discuss their ideas.
With today’s announcement, public voting will now begin to select the SAVE Award winner. Anyone can vote for his or her favorite idea by visiting www.WhiteHouse.gov/Save-Award. And as in past competitions, this year’s winner will get to present their idea directly to the President in the Oval Office.
Again, don’t forget to vote for your favorite SAVE Award idea. You can help us cut waste and make your government more effective and efficient.
Jeff Zients is the Deputy Director for Management and Chief Performance Officer.