Reinvention Man

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Vice President Gore said yesterday that reinventing government is here to stay and told federal managers and executives they need to take the reform movement seriously.

Appearing at the Reinvention Revolution Conference in Bethesda, Md., Gore held a "town hall meeting" with more than 700 federal employees and managers. Hundreds more watched the meeting via satellite.

"In this, my 1997 state of reinvention address, I hereby declare the era of better government has begun," Gore said. "Reinvention will keep going on and on and on."

He said reinvention would not join the ranks of past government reform efforts that failed because the effort he is leading relies on input from government employees.

"None of the previous attempts was based on federal employees," Gore said. "Who else knows better where the waste is, what pointless regulations and rules need to be changed or abolished and how partnerships can replace rivalry and replace confrontation?"

Responding to feedback he received at last year's Reinvention Revolution Conference that senior federal management "doesn't get it," Gore instructed federal managers, executives, and political appointees to read and apply the Blair House Papers, a manual of 15 principles for reinventing government. The "little red book" was published earlier this year by the National Performance Review.

"I'm convinced that if every federal manager applied these 15 principles, reinvention breakouts would start happening tomorrow," Gore said.

Following his address, Gore talked with five "front-line reinventors" who have helped their agencies improve customer service or save money. Then he took questions from the live audience and participants via satellite from Atlanta and Chicago.

Gore said that "nobody in the federal government should be any longer managing by FTE [full-time equivalent] ceilings" in response to a question about conflicts between the reinvention process and the president's new welfare-to-work initiative. He said neither agencies themselves nor oversight agencies should require FTE ceilings, so agencies can be free to hire welfare recipients.

Gore cited recent public opinion polls that show increasing public confidence in the federal government as a sign that reinvention is working. He also said his office will soon release a report on customer service surveys performed by 150 agencies showing similar improvements in public opinion.

Gore thanked employees for their reinvention efforts and said it is vital that agencies continue to improve the way they do business.

"In order to redeem the promise of representative democracy, we have to succeed at the task of reinventing our federal government," Gore said. "This is extremely important for the United States of America."

For continued coverage of the Reinvention Revolution Conference, check govexec.com tomorrow.

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