According to a white house press release, Obama is listening to those of us who have been crying foul on government spending. He is trimming the federal budget by limiting the gadgets and gizmos bought in the name of the government.
According to the press release, the President is expecting agencies to stop wasting money on smart phones, tablets, and laptops by limiting the number issued to individual employees.
The press release also says that the President wants to see agencies to reduce spending on travel, and is setting an example by shrinking the executive fleet.
I give Obama the biggest thumbs up that I can. This is not only saving our tax dollars, but it is setting an example to the corporations that have high waste as well.
Obama also wants to see more information sent through the internet, instead of wasting printing materials, according to the press release.
My favorite cut Obama wants to see? The cutting of “Swag” out of the federal budget. This would be the unnecessary purchase of plaques, clothing and promotional items that waste the tax payer’s money.
A closer look at what Obama has ordered: (A summery of the White house Press release)
Reduce Spending on Travel and Conferences: The Executive Order directs agencies spend less on travel, and conference related traveling expenses. Travel will become limited to situations that cannot be supplemented by video conferences, such as diplomatic missions, or inspections.
Employees be able to go to local meetings and conferences in person but need to make more use of teleconferencing or videoconferencing technology to participate in meetings or conferences that would in cost the government travel expenses.
One big spending cut, is in the cost of sponsoring conferences. Agencies will use conference space controlled by the federal government when they can.
Each of the federal agencies will choose a senior-level official to be in charge of reducing travel costs.
The White House outlined a few examples of steps currently being applied.
- The IRS plans to utilize teleconferencing and webinars when possible, as an alternative to travelling to conferences and training sessions. This and other efforts will result in 27% less spending on travel in Fiscal Year 2012.
- The Department of Energy is reducing travel costs by reducing the number of conferences, utilizing video teleconferencing, and issuing non-refundable airline tickets when travel does not require changes. This initiative will save $15.7 million in Fiscal Year 2012.
- NASA is reducing travel costs by approximately $17 million in Fiscal Year 2012 by reducing the number of attendees at meetings and conferences, encouraging rental car sharing, and reducing foreign travel.
- Cutting the gadgets:
“The Executive Order directs each agency to limit the number of devices issued to employees and establish new policies to ensure they are not paying for IT equipment that isn’t being used,” says the White House. We all can take a breath of relief as we know full well that technology is costly, and buying every federal employee the newest gadgets as soon as they come on the market is costing billions.
What the White House says they are already doing:
- The Department of Homeland Security previously spent millions of dollars each year by paying for unused cell phones and air cards. The agency now conducts annual audits of use and has saved $10.5 million to date.
- The Department of Commerce saved $1.8 million to date and will save a total of $3 million this year by disconnecting 2,648 wireless lines showing no usage for the past three months – including those assigned to retirees and former staff — as well as by optimizing rate plans.
- Save a tree, and a printing bill:
“The Executive Order directs agencies to provide written information electronically and limit the production of hard copy documents,” said the White House.
The White House is already seeing these practices:
- The Department of the Treasury plans to reduce spending on printing by increasing the number of paperless transactions it conducts with the public. In total, Treasury expects this initiative will reduce printing costs by up to 24 percent in Fiscal Year 2012. Treasury’s initiative to increase the number of paperless transactions it conducts with the public is expected to save more than $500 million and 12 million pounds of paper over its first five years alone.
- Last year, Trudy Givens won the President’s SAVE Award for her suggestion that we stop printing and shipping excess Federal Registers to Federal Government Offices, which costs millions of dollars per year, when the content is available online. As a result, the Obama Administration cut the number of copies that Federal agencies receive by 85 percent within the past year, and continues to cut back even more.
Car pool anyone?:
The Federal Government, according to the White House, spends $9 million per year on vehicles just to drive around Washington DC. “The Executive Order limits executive transportation across the federal government and directs agencies to improve the performance of the Federal fleet.”
The White House claims:
- The Department of Commerce is reducing the number of fleet drivers to one for all senior departmental officials, including the Secretary. Reductions in drivers and vehicles are expected to generate $100,000 in annual savings.
- Stop Swag -or sucking up:
According to the White House the Executive Order directs agencies to stop wasting taxpayer money on non-essential items used for promotional purposes, such as clothing, mugs, and non-work related gadgets.