Rank-and-file feds often source of cost-savings ideas

Thursday - 2/16/2012, 8:09pm EST

Steve Kelman, professor of public management, Harvard University

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You can take the budget deficit into your own hands. There are plenty of ways to save the government money, and great ideas are just about anywhere.

Steve Kelman, a professor of public management at Harvard University, joined In Depth with Francis Rose to discuss a simple new cost-saving idea.

Kelman, who writes a column for Federal Computer Week, said a reader provided this idea: When federal employees travel, if they're able to find a better deal on a hotel than what the per diem rate allows for, they should be able to keep half the difference between the negotiated rate and the rate the employee pays.

In his column, Kelman said he liked this idea and others like for a number of reasons:

First, while this proposal would make only the smallest of impacts on the deficit, the cost to the government of getting these savings is zero -- it's pure deficit reduction. Second, I like the idea of putting this cost-saving activity in the hands of employees, because once they start helping save money, it gets them in the spirit to make other efforts as well.