The Final Four Is Here...For the SAVE Award

While the Final Four for the NCAA tournament is still almost four months away, another Final Four is taking place right now. Although it won't be held in a football stadium, voting for the 2013 SAVE Award is happening on the White House's website. The SAVE Award, which allows federal employees to submit ideas for reducing waste, has been held every year since 2009, with the winner being able to present their idea to the President and many other submissions also getting put into the President's budget or implemented administratively.

Yesterday, OMB director Sylvia Mathew Burwell presented the Final Four in a blog post.

Kenneth Siehr, Online Tracking of Veterans Mail Prescription Deliveries. The Department of Veterans Affairs sends the majority of outpatient prescriptions to patients via mail. Currently, in order for Veterans to track the delivery of mailed prescription medications they must call their local VA Medical Center directly.  Kenneth recommends saving pharmacy staff time and enhancing customer service by making the package tracking information available to Veterans online through the Veterans Health Administration’s existing web-based portal, MyHeatheVet.

Patrick Mindiola, Electronic Passport Notification. The State Department sends thousands of Information Request Letters (IRLs) in response to passport applications via regular mail. These mailings delay the processing time for applications and result in unnecessary added costs. Patrick recommends saving time and money by responding via email first, requesting any additional information needed and asking the applicants to verify submitted information. Mail notifications would be used only when email addresses are missing or returned, or if no response is received.

Dirk Renner, Share Certifications Across Agencies. Dirk has worked for multiple federal agencies and recently found out that his USDA Forest Service All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) training was not transferable to the Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service, where he now works.  Dirk recommends allowing comparable agency certifications to transfer from agency to agency or between departments.  This change would save time and reduce duplicative training and travel costs for employees across the government. 

Buyar Hayrula, Collect Custom Fines and Penalties Online.  Buyar suggests creating a secure website to allow Custom and Border Protection (CBP) officers and agriculture specialists to collect payments by credit card at land ports of entry.  Currently, payment requests are often sent via mail when a cashier is not available. Automating this payment process would increase revenue collections and operational efficiencies at CBP while also helping reduce wait times for individuals entering the U.S. at land ports of entry.

You can vote here on the winner until Friday at noon. Last year's winner was Frederick Winter, who suggested that federal employees receiving public transit benefits be switched from regular transit fare to the reduced senior fare as soon as they are eligible. That suggestion was implemented administratively and will save $12 million over the next five years.