Jeff Zients

While President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner continue to push ahead with negotiations over federal revenues and spending, federal workers have also been offering up ideas to curb government spending.

And the ideas of four federal employees are up for a public vote this week, the White House announced today. (The public has until noon, Dec. 21, to vote.) Keep reading →

The White House announced it plans to introduce the inaugural members of its Presidential Innovation Fellows program in a ceremony Aug. 23, at 10 a.m. (EDT) that will be streamed live on

“This new initiative is bringing in top innovators from outside government to work with top innovators inside government to create real and substantial changes that will in a very short time frame benefit the American people, save taxpayers money, and help create new jobs,” said U.S. Chief Technology Officer, Todd Park. Keep reading →

The names of this year’s 100 most influential executives in the government IT community were released by Federal Computer Week magazine this morning.

The Federal 100 Awards recognize government and industry leaders who have played pivotal roles in the federal government IT community-and who “have made a difference in the way technology has transformed their agency or accelerated their agency’s mission.” Keep reading →

The White House announced today that Jeffrey Zients will serve as the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Zients is currently deputy director for management and chief performance officer at OMB. He replaces Jack Lew who last week was named as chief of staff to the president after William Daley announced he will be leaving the position later this month. Keep reading →

The White House has unveiled a new government web site section designed to help accelerate the environmental review and permitting process for 14 high priority infrastructure projects.

The new Federal Infrastructure Projects Dashboard is also intended to bring greater public attention to the projects, and the promise of jobs associated with them, said Jeff Zients, deputy director for management and chief performance officer at the White House Office of Management and Budget in a blog post yesterday. Keep reading →

President Obama signed an executive order today directing federal agencies to limit the number of electronic devices issued to federal employees, expand their use of teleconferencing in lieu of travel and reduce the volume of documents the government prints each year.

Agencies have within 45 days to develop plans to reduce by 20 percent the combined federal spending associated with these and other expenses, including what agencies spend on vehicle fleets and the production of “non-essential items” for promotional purposes. Keep reading →

The Obama Administration launched a new interactive map and a new online dashboard to help support and monitor its efforts to dispose of unneeded federal real estate. Office of Management and Budget Personnel Chief Performance Officer Jeffrey Zients commented on the the administration’s progress in the following White House blog post yesterday.

Over the years the federal government accumulated tens of thousands of properties that are no longer needed, wasting hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars annually on upkeep. Last June, President Obama directed Federal agencies to end this waste and improve the management of the government’s real estate by getting unneeded properties off our books – setting an initial goal of netting $3 billion in savings by the end of 2012. Since then, agencies across the government have been hard at work scrutinizing their real estate holdings and identifying properties that have outlived their utility.

Today, I’m pleased to report that these efforts are paying off. Agencies have already identified real estate savings opportunities that exceed the President’s goal, and that put the federal government on pace to shed $3.5 billion in real estate costs by the end of 2012. To help track the Administration’s progress with these efforts – and to give the American people an unprecedented window into the government’s management of federal real estate – today we’re launching two new online tools.

The first is an updated White House Excess Property map (see image above) that uses new data to pinpoint the location and status of federal properties that agencies have targeted for closure or consolidation. Ranging from small sheds in rural locations to sprawling warehouses and office complexes in urban and suburban areas, the map shows some 12,000 properties scattered all across the country. We’re also rolling out a new dashboard on that allows the American people to track the Administration’s progress in meeting the President’s $3 billion goal.

The dashboard now shows that agencies plan to surpass the President’s goal by the end of 2012 and have already achieved $1.5 billion in savings through a combination of sales, consolidations, canceled projects, and reduced maintenance and utility costs. And in the coming years, we’ll continue to target more and more unneeded properties that squander billions of dollars and make the government less efficient.

One such property is the U.S. General Service Administration’s (GSA) West Heating Plant, a two-acre property in the Georgetown section of Washington, DC. It’s been 10 years since this facility last played a role in the boiler and pipe network that heats many of the capital’s government buildings. In the decade since it was last in use it has racked up $3.5 million in maintenance costs. The plant was retained as a back-up for emergencies, but GSA has determined the facility is no longer needed and ready for closure so we are labeling it “excess” today.

Getting this property off the books is a win-win for the American people. It will eliminate maintenance costs, ensure that this property will be put to a more productive use, and could earn the government tens of millions in revenue from potential sales proceeds. This is exactly the type of waste and inefficiency the President and Vice President pledged to root out when they launched the Campaign to Cut Waste.

Closing these types of facilities represents important progress, but more work needs to be done in the long-term to get excess properties off our books. For too long, the sale of excess federal real estate has been slowed by a process fraught with delays and hurdles.
That’s why in his budget last year, the President put forward a proposal called the Civilian Property Realignment Act – legislation that would cut through red tape and politics to accelerate the disposal of unnecessary government properties well beyond 2012. We look forward to continuing to work with Congress to ensure passage of this legislation to end wasteful Federal spending on properties that we simply do not need and return billions of dollars to American taxpayers.

Stopping the waste of taxpayer dollars is a priority for this Administration. Particularly in these tough budgetary times, we have a responsibility to deliver the American people an efficient, effective government that makes smart use of its resources. By aggressively targeting unneeded federal real estate, that’s exactly what we are doing.

Keep reading →

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy issued a long-awaited set of guidelines that clarifies what government functions “must always be performed by federal employees” and when it’s appropriate to turn to contractors to for a variety of services.

In a 75-page final policy letter, OFPP and Office of Management and Budget Officials lay out a new set of terms, guidelines and examples concerning government contracting. Keep reading →