Campaign to Cut Waste saves $2 billion in second quarter

larry1235/Shutterstock.com

The Obama administration’s 15-month-old Campaign to Cut Waste is on track to “meet or exceed” its goal of saving $8 billion by the end of fiscal 2013, acting White House Budget Director Jeffrey Zients reported Monday. He attributed the progress to “smart management.”

In an Office of Management and Budget blog post, Zients reported that the campaign led by Vice President Joe Biden saved $2 billion in the second quarter of 2012 through efficiencies in printing, federal fleet management and travel. A similar amount reportedly was saved in the year’s first quarter, both measured since President Obama issued an executive order titled Promoting Efficient Spending in November 2011.

“Perhaps just as important as the savings themselves is the fact that they are indicative of innovative management practices federal agencies are implementing to get the most out of every dollar,” Zients wrote. “We are spending less money, and we’re spending it smarter in order to get the most bang for our buck.”

Examples he cited included the Agriculture Department’s consolidation of cellphone contracts, which meant discontinuing 1,700 unused or obsolete lines, for a savings of $4.7 million in one year.

The Air Force has stepped up its move from the analog world to digital in areas such as document sharing and collaboration, e-forms and e-publishing -- for projected savings of more than $80 million over five years.

Zients praised the Fish and Wildlife Service for increasing its use of teleconferencing, videoconferencing, webinars, shared websites and “other real-time communications that enable shared access to documents remotely and electronically to reduce travel for meetings.”

The Social Security Administration, he reported, is downsizing its vehicle fleet to reduce the cost of petroleum consumption and leasing while modernizing vehicles to use alternative fuels.

Though the Campaign to Cut Waste has received attention at Cabinet meetings, not all managers are enthusiastic about it. A survey of chief financial officers released in July showed that many believed the pressure to economize conflicted with fulfilling agency missions.

(Image via larry1235/Shutterstock.com)

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