Thursday, November 11, 2010

Let's All Vote!

You voted last week - right? You hope your vote - whatever way you voted in whichever contest - will actually make a difference - right?

Well, I have another "election" for you and I guarantee that your vote - no matter which candidate - actually will make a difference ... to you, to me and to every tax payer in the country. A tall order, but I can deliver.

Most of us have had the experience of seeing something in our job site that could be changed, streamlined, or done a better way to save our boss/organization/agency either a lot of time or significant dollars - maybe both. Sometimes we can actually get that idea implemented, but probably more often we can't. Because, "we've always done it that way."

Apparently the President has had that experience, too. Last year, he asked Federal employees to send in ideas that would save either time or money for the Federal government - the SAVE Award. The goal was to produce ideas that would save money and improve the way that the government does business. In less that three weeks the ideas came pouring in - 38,000 of them. Twenty ideas were included in the 2011 Federal budget and others were used across the country to save money at Federal agencies.

The winning idea last year was to find a way to avoid throwing out bulk medicines used in VA hospitals. Apparently, when a patient is released from a VA hospital - or any other hospital for that matter - all the left over medications are thrown away. Eye drops and ointments are frequently only used a few times, so the idea is to find a way to safely reuse these items for other patients to avoid the cost of trashing them.

It's time to vote for the 2010 winner and here's where you come in. After 18,000 ideas were submitted, and after 164,000 Federal employees voted to choose the four finalists, now Uncle Sam needs you. The four finalists for this year are:

1) to post sales of assets seized by Homeland Security on the Internet, instead of buying advertising space in local newspapers.

2) t0 distribute the daily Federal Register to 8,000 Federal employees electronically instead of mailing them. When the public was offered electronic copies (with an opt in for paper) the number mailed dropped from 25,000 to 500.

3) To use regular ground service to return empty containers to USDA food inspectors rather than Express Delivery. Currently inspectors ship samples to the lab via Express Delivery and the empty containers are returned the same way.

4) To replace paper forms used by mine operators with online forms to reduce the cost of reproduction and mailing.

All of those sound like great ideas to me - altho I do have a favorite - and I suspect all four will end up in the 2012 budget along with many more.

Before you make your choice, you need to know what fabulous prize the winner gets. It's a trip to D.C. to present the winning idea to the President. No big money; just a trip (and probably a certificate). So there you have it. Go to the SAVE Award website and vote. You will make a difference and help reduce the cost of government for next year and perhaps years to come - I guarantee it!

Vote early, vote often - just kidding!