1,000 Hammers Hammering

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On the eighth day 'til Christmas, Al Gore gave to thee, a thousand hammers hammering and a dance around the reinvention tree.

In the White House's Indian Treaty Room on Dec. 17, Vice President Al Gore presented the 1000th Hammer Award, the National Performance Review's highest honor for innovative federal employees and contractors. The award went to the U.S. Postal Service and Boston-based Targeted Marketing Solutions, Inc., for making it easier for people who move to change their address. Gore hailed the event as proof that his reinventing government initiative is bearing fruit.

"When I presented the first Hammer Award four years ago, I wasn't sure how many we'd give out," Gore said in his prepared remarks. "But I had a firm conviction, which all of you and the other 999 teams have proven to be right: a conviction that federal employees were ready, willing and able to create a government that works better and costs less."

USPS and Targeted Marketing developed the "Mover's Guide," an advertising-supported booklet that includes an official change-of-address form and tips on adjusting to a new town. The Postal Service saves more than $1 million a year because it doesn't have to print change-of-address cards and saves another $47 million a year because it spends less time redirecting mail.

Targeted Marketing also developed MoversNet, which includes an online change-of-address form.

Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., praised the USPS-Targeted Marketing partnership as an example of a successful relationship between government and industry.

"The public sector and the private sector have joined forces and the results have been dramatci savings for taxpayers," Kennedy said.

Gore said the reinventing government movement has saved $132 billion since it began in 1993.

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