DOINews: DOI Employee Makes 2012 SAVE Award Final Four, Vote Today

Last edited 09/05/2019

James Szender, BLM-Alaska, standing in front of a table and reviewing a large map.
A DOI employee – James Szender from the BLM – is among the four finalists for the 2012 President's Save Award. OMB has launched the public voting to choose a winner; the deadline to vote: Dec. 21. Cast your vote HERE. Photo by Matthew Vos, BLM.

December 19, 2012

Dear DOI Team,

As you know, President Obama launched the SAVE Award to give frontline Federal employees the chance to share with the White House their ideas about how to make government more efficient and effective.

Over the past four years, Federal workers from across the country submitted more than 85,000 cost-cutting ideas – covering everything from implementing new measures to conserve energy use to cutting back on paper copies of publications already available online like the Federal Register. These ideas alone won't solve the Nation's long-term fiscal challenges, but they are saving hundreds of millions of dollars and represent common-sense steps to improve government and provide a better value to the American people.

Earlier today, OMB announced the launch of public voting to select the winner among this year's finalists.

Keeping with tradition, the winner will present his or her idea to the President in the Oval Office, and other proposals will be directed to agencies for potential action or inclusion in the President's Budget.

I am pleased to announce that James Szender from the Bureau of Land Management was selected as a finalist. This year's “final four” include:

James Szender, Use Digital Transcription. A written transcript of Federal meetings or hearings is often required. James Szender of the Department of Interior proposes, whenever possible, using digital equipment for transcripts instead of hiring a court reporter, since using digital transcription is significantly less expensive than contracting with a certified court reporter to attend, record, and transcribe the proceedings.

Frederick Winter, Shift to Senior Transit Fares. Frederick Winter of the Department of Education proposes that all Federal employees who receive public transit benefits shift from regular transit fare to the reduced senior fare as soon as they are eligible. In the D.C. area, this change would lower the cost of the employee's travel by 50 percent, with no loss in the effective benefits for the employee.

Angela Leroux, Reduce Employee Shuttle Buses. Many Federal agencies maintain buses to shuttle employees from one government office to another for work purposes. Too often these vehicles sit idle or travel their routes with just a few passengers. Angela Leroux at the Internal Revenue Service recommends that agencies eliminate or consolidate the bus service and encourage the use of conference and video calls, or provide metro cards to those with a need to travel.

Laurie Dempsey, Post Customs Inspection Information Online. Customs and Border Protection is required to post a bulletin weekly that lists all imported items that have completed the customs inspection process. Currently, Customs ports across the country print this bulletin, which can be hundreds of pages long, and post it in the customs house. Laurie Dempsey from the Department of Homeland Security suggests instead posting the bulletin electronically on This change would save paper, reduce costs, and make it easier for the public to find out what items have been inspected without having to visit the facility in person.

I hope you will take a few minutes to cast your vote for your favorite. And remember – voting is open to everyone, not just Federal employees, so spread the word! Show your support for your favorite idea and share the voting link with your friends and family. Voting will remain open until noon on Friday, December 21st – and every vote counts.

The SAVE Award is based on the belief that the best ideas come from frontline Federal employees like you – so make your voice heard by voting today!

Thank you for your support in this effort and for all that you do to make your government work better for the American people.

Best Regards,

Rhea Suh

Assistant Secretary for Policy,

Management and Budget

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