HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 09-224
HUD Public Affairs (202) 708-0980
OMB Communications (202) 395-7254
For Release
December 7, 2009

Vote for your favorite idea to cut government waste and improve performance at

WASHINGTON, DC. - President Obama today announced the four finalists of the first-ever SAVE (Securing Americans Value and Efficiency) Award. More than 38,000 federal employees submitted their ideas on how to make government more efficient and effective.

"I've often said that meeting our greatest challenges will require not only changing policies in Washington, but also changing the way business is done in Washington," President Obama said in unveiling the finalists. "It's time to fix or end government programs that don't work and waste your hard-earned tax dollars."

The SAVE Award originated with the President's weekly address on April 25 in which the President called for "new thinking and a new sense of responsibility for every dollar that is spent." To reform government, he proposed a process through which government employees could submit ideas for their agency to save money and perform better. To fulfill this promise, OMB launched the President's SAVE Award on September 23, 2009.

"This Administration is committed to providing better value for the American taxpayer," OMB Director Peter R. Orszag said. "The SAVE Award is about improving how government operates by drawing upon the wealth of knowledge of our frontline workers who are seeing day in and day out what's working and what's not."

The final step of the process begins today: the American people can rate the "final four" of the best ideas via online voting on Voting begins at 6 a.m. EST on Monday, December 7 and will be open through 11:59 p.m. EST on Thursday, December 10, The winner will present his or her idea to the President, and will have that idea included in the budget.

OMB staff assessed the ideas, passing back hundreds of the most promising ones to agencies to include in their FY 2011 budget plans. OMB then winnowed the best ideas to a "final four."

The finalists in alphabetical order are:

  • Make Social Security Appointments Online
Christie Dickson from the Social Security Administration in Alabama calls for saving time and money by allowing people to schedule appointments online.

"I think it would be cost effective to allow (with stipulations) the public to also schedule appointments online. We set up appointments about two-thirds of the time on the phone. By having access to a schedule online, that would allow us time to assist more people."

  • Let Vets Take Unused Medication Home from the Hospital
Nancy Fichtner from Colorado thinks that veterans leaving VA hospitals should be able to take medication they've been using home with them instead of it being thrown away when they're discharged.

As is the case in most hospitals all across the country, medicine that is used in the hospital is not given to patients to be brought home; instead, it is thrown out. "Currently the inpatient medications such as ointments, inhalers, eye drops, and other bulk items are being disposed of upon patient discharge." Nancy proposes ending this waste and finding a way to allow this medicine to be used by those who need it.

  • Save Money when Collecting Money
Julie Fosbender who works at the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia has a plan to cut red tape in the way visitor fees and other funds from National Forests are deposited in the government's bank account.

When Forest Service personnel collect money from the public (e.g. selling a pass or collecting campground fees), we take that money, count it, drive to a bank to convert the cash into a money order, and then turn the paperwork, checks, and money order over to a unit collection officer. The unit collection officer then recounts the receipts, makes two copies of the money orders and checks, creates a bill for collection, waits 24 hours for the bill to print, fills out a remittance report, runs two calculator tapes of receipts (one for her and one for the bank) and mails the package (via certified mail) to a bank in San Francisco, CA. Why can't we just deposit our collections into a local bank?

  • Streamline Redundant Inspections of Subsidized Housing
Huston Prescott from Alaska wants to streamline redundant inspections of subsidized housing - saving inspectors' time and taxpayers' money.

Subsidized housing units all across the country receive funds from many different grant programs. As Huston notes, "The constant in the majority of the developments that I have been involved with is that each of these funding sources requires its own physical inspection of the units as well as calculating incomes in different manners and annual audits. They report the same information in multiple formats. Countless hours spent recreating information could be used in more productive ways."


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Content Archived: August 18, 2015