This is one in our regular More With Less series exploring how federal agencies are finding and implementing innovative ways to drive efficiency and cut costs.
The Office of Management and Budget has about 20,000 money-saving ideas from federal workers to consider in the coming weeks. One of them will win an award. Many could find their way into the next fiscal budget.
Ideas range from requiring government workers to punch a time clock to getting rid of contracted software in favor of government-produced computer programs and cutting extraneous facilities. An OMB spokeswoman said the winner will be announced sometime this fall.
OMB has conducted contests each year since 2009 seeking federal workers’ best money-saving ideas that are then put into practice.
John Palguta, vice president for policy at the Partnership for Public Service has called the SAVE awards “a powerful example of the beneficial use of ‘crowd sourcing’ to tap into and capture the insights and creativity of federal employees” and said “one would hope that this initiative cascades down into the individual federal agencies.”
Sure enough, according to the OMB, 27 of the money-saving ideas in the fiscal 2013 budget came from federal workers. Among them were reducing use of overnight shipping and using video teleconferencing in place of costly travel (the General Services Administration) as well as consolidating regional offices (Department of Agriculture) and shutting down excess data centers.
Last year’s SAVE (Presidential Securing Americans’ Value and Efficiency) award winner led the list for his idea to create a NASA “lending library” of specialized tools used in space exploration purchased by one organization but available to other programs to “borrow” for a limited amount of time. The idea eliminated duplicative purchases by NASA agencies.
The winning idea came from Matthew Ritsko (pictured above) of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and led the fiscal 2013 federal budget’s section on “Cuts, Consolidations, and Savings.”
NASA administrator Charles Bolden praised Ritsko’s “simple idea” which, he said “can help our nation’s space program be more efficient and get more bang for the taxpayer’s buck.”