OMB touts $4B in efficiency savings

Tuesday - 9/4/2012, 5:00pm EDT

Agencies have saved more than $4 billion during the first two quarters of fiscal 2012 as part of President Barack Obama's efficiency initiative.

Jeff Zients, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in a blog post today about the progress agencies have made over the first six months of the year.

"That puts us at $4 billion dollars in savings — well on track to meet and exceed our goal of $8 billion by the end of FY 2013," Zients wrote. "But 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. We are spending less money, and we're spending it smarter in order to get the most bang for our buck."

The President last November issued an executive order asking agencies to find savings in areas such as fleet or travel.

Zients highlighted several examples of progress.

For instance, the Agriculture Department reduced the number of cell phone lines by 1,700 to save $4.7 million in 2012.

The Interior Department's Fish and Wildlife Service reduced its travel costs by using teleconferences, videoconferencing and other real-time communication capabilities.

And the Social Security Administration reduced the number of cars it manages and uses and is investing in alternative fuel vehicles.

"[W]e anticipate more savings and more examples next quarter," Zients wrote. "President Obama and Vice President [Joe] Biden have been clear: We must and will continue to improve our operations and ensure we provide efficient and effective services to the American people."

The General Services Administration detailed its progress to reduce spending last week.

GSA said it saved more than $16 million this year between canceling employee travel to conferences and several other initiatives, such as canceling magazine subscriptions.

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