Trudy is a 19-year veteran of the US Bureau of Prisons, working now as a Business Administrator in the Federal Correctional Institution in Oxford, Wisconsin. Over the course of her career, Trudy noticed that copies from the Federal Register -- the federal government’s official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents-- were delivered to her workplace several times per week, but employees rarely referenced the documents. The Federal Register was made available online years ago, and most members of the interested public reference that online version now. Trudy thought that in keeping with the President’s spirit of cutting out waste and going green, the government should end the printing and mailing of thousands of Federal Registers to employees.
The budget team at OMB did a little digging and found that Trudy was right – most folks access the Register online. But the Register is still sent to thousands of federal employees in hard copies every day. While statute requires that hard copies be available, allowing recipients to opt-in for hard copy delivery could yield savings associated with printing and postage. When a similar “opt-in” (with fee) option was offered to the public, the number of hard copies mailed was reduced from roughly 25,000 to 500 recipients. This sounded like a commonsense idea for savings to us – and it did to thousands of you as well. Trudy won the contest with nearly 20,000 votes. The runners up were: Marjorie Cook from the Department of Agriculture, Paul Behe from the Department of Homeland Security, and Thomas Koenning from the Department of Labor.
As this year’s winner, Trudy will be invited to meet the President to discuss her idea with him in person.
But if you were rooting for one of the other three finalists, not to worry. All the finalists and all SAVE Award submissions have been sent to the agencies for potential action and inclusion in the 2012 Budget. Last year, a total of 20 SAVE ideas made it into the President’s FY2011 budget – including the winner and the other three finalists – identifying millions of dollars in savings.
So our gratitude goes out to all of the federal employees who submitted ideas to boost government performance and thanks to everyone who voted for the 2010 SAVE Award. Each of us in the federal government has the ability and the responsibility to pitch in to make every tax dollar count. Not just during the SAVE Award competition, but all year round. And it is this commitment to making government work better for you, exemplified by our finalists Trudy, Marjorie, Paul and Thomas, that we honor today.