This morning, President Obama signed an Executive Order  to cut waste and to promote more efficient spending as part of the administration-wide Campaign to Cut Waste . Commerce Department employee Roger Rhoads joined President Obama as he signed the Executive Order in the Oval Office.
Rhoads led the effort to identify and shutdown unused cell phones at Commerce. The department saved $1.8M annually by disconnecting or suspending 81 percent of the 3,200 wireless lines showing zero usage for the previous three months as well as by optimizing rate plans.
The Executive Order sets bold goals for agencies to reduce spending on travel; limit the number of information technology devices (e.g. cell phones, smartphones, tablets, laptops) that can be issued to individual employees; stop unnecessarily printing documents that can be posted online; shrink the executive fleet of the federal government; and stop using taxpayer dollars to buy swag–the unnecessary plaques, clothing and other promotional items that agencies purchase. Overall spending in the areas covered by the Executive Order will be reduced by 20 percent, saving billions.
The Department of Commerce is also reducing the number of its fleetdrivers. Reductions in drivers and vehicles are expected to generate $100,000 in annual savings.Within 45 days, the Department of Commerce will develop a plan to reduce combined costs in the following areas to 20 percent below Fiscal Year 2010 levels by Fiscal Year 2013:
- Reduce Spending on Travel and Conferences: The Executive Order directs agencies to decrease travel and conference-related spending. Employees will continue attending local meetings and conferences in person but expand their use of teleconferencing or videoconferencing technology to participate in meetings or conferences that would normally require travel.
- Cut Duplicative and Unnecessary Employee Information Technology Devices: 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. The Commerce Department 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.
- End Unnecessary Printing and Put It Online: In the digital age, it is frequently unnecessary to spend money on printed documents in addition to making information available online for the public. The Executive Order directs Commerce to provide written information electronically and limit the production of hard copy documents.
- Limit Motor Vehicles: The Federal Government spends $9 million per year on vehicles just to shepherd itself around Washington DC. 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 Government Promotional Handouts: 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.
This morning’s Executive Order builds on the progress that has already been made through the Campaign to Cut Waste. The Obama administration has cracked down on waste in contracting, cutting contracting spending for the first time in more than a dozen years and slashing spending on “no bid contracts” by $5 billion.