Federal workers would get cash for pinpointing government savings

Thanks to an alert reader for this submission:

Hope there is a panel of (volunteer) externals to review these for each agency..otherwise we’ll we might have suggestions like “answering the phone even less often when federal retirees call OMB..”

I think the FS might have done something like this during the Pilot period. It was very incentivizing! Hopefully retirees can also input suggestions and maybe get a half of one percent? How about contractors and the public?

P.S. I don’t know anyone who believes that end-of-year spending flurries are the optimum use of federal resources.


Federal employees could soon have a big incentive to help the government save money: They could take home a share of the savings.

A bill filed Thursday by U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., would give bonuses to federal workers who come up with ways for the government to save money. The employees could receive 1 percent of the total cost savings, or up to $10,000.

Fleischmann said offering the bonuses would not only be a way to encourage workers to cut wasteful spending, it also could return to the U.S. Treasury millions of unused tax dollars that could then be applied toward deficit reduction.

“This is a bill that I think will appeal to all fiscally responsible members of Congress — Republicans and Democrats — because it’s just a good, common sense bill,” Fleischmann said.

Federal agencies are appropriated a certain amount of funds every year. “Right now, sadly, what happens is when a government agency is allotted funds, sometimes those funds are not really needed,” Fleischmann said.

Regardless, critics say, agencies rush to spend unused dollars in the last quarter of the fiscal year, encouraging a “use-it-or-lose-it” mentality.

Fleischmann’s bill, known as the EASY Savings Act, seeks to end that practice by encouraging government workers to look for and suggest ways to stop frivolous spending. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has filed the Senate version of the bill.

The legislation has bipartisan support and has been endorsed by the American Taxpayers Union and other government watchdog groups.

“In order to bring spending reform to Washington, we need to make fundamental changes such as improving the incentive structure,” said James Valvo, director of policy for Americans For Prosperity. “The EASY Savings Act would provide better incentives for federal agencies and grant recipients to return unused funds for deficit reduction.”

3 thoughts on “Federal workers would get cash for pinpointing government savings”

  1. There is no such thing as “easy savings” in government. But what might be termed “easy avarice” is another matter. One person’s or unit’s meritorious project could well be attacked and portrayed by another as a wasteful boondoggle. Indeed, this proposed “Easy Savings Act” could well backfire by incentivizing greedy or disgruntled mercenaries to target and misrepresent good and needed projects for elimination in the name of savings just to get a reward–and do so on Uncle Sam’s dime. Nominating project cuts or other potential savings measures has merit only when done for public rather than personal gain.

  2. Les, I know it could be “let’s get rid of the timber program” or “stop doing NEPA”. That’s why I think some kind of panel of retirees would be (possibly cheap) and useful to separate the wheat from the chaff ideas.

    For example, when I worked with sustainable operations, we instituted “payback to the taxpayer” as a criterion for internal grants. I think a lot of little things like that could cumulatively make a big difference.

    But there could be bigger ones like merging/coordinating better with Interior agencies, and merging/coordinating research efforts.

    It kind of blows me away that such a government watching and improvement effort isn’t part of our ordinary way of doing business. Ah.. if I were a philanthropist..

  3. Boy, I sure hope this bill passes. I’d just consider it part of my yearly bonus (in addition to all the collaborative corporate kickbacks [alomst alliteration Sharon]) that I’m already padding my nest with.

    My first $10K will be earned by (immediately after passage of the bill) by pointing out that congress hasn’t been able to pass a budget since….uhhh, when? The continual CR’s and late in the FY funding “dump” (against or past many deadlines for contracting/agreement obligations) certainly doesn’t help. Suggested remedy? – Pass a budget and give the field units time to plan appropriately, instead of emergency year end expenditures (use-or-lose mentality). I’ll trade-up my boat with that $10K. Not enough room on my current SS Minnow to adequately entertain all the timber folks and BOD of the big green groups.

    Next, I’d delve into large fire expenditures. I would look first at what local hosting units are charged by type 1 and 2 IMT’s for unreturned gear (checked out of the supply unit) after the circus leaves town. $13 for a pair of fingernail clippers? Really? Thousands and thousands of dollars of unreturned and overinflated stuff that gets charged to the poor District that happened to have a large fire. What a racket. Of course I’ll have to compete with a lot of new to the Agency GS-4 firefighters who immediatey spot these apparent cost savings as well, before they get fully indoctrinated into the system. There might have to be some sort of system set up for multiple claims along the same theme.

    I’ll stop there……..comment considerations and all.


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