NASA employee wins 2011 SAVE Award

Friday - 11/18/2011, 5:58am EST

NASA's Matthew Ritsko realized the space agency was duplicating many of its purchases of specialized tools and equipment for developing and building flight projects. He came up with the idea to create a tool "lending library," to make it easier to find out what already has been bought and reuse those tools.

For that seeming flash of common sense, Ritsko won the 2011 SAVE Award. The Office of Management and Budget announced Thursday his idea garnered more than 19,000 of the 48,000 votes cast for the four finalists.

"[W]e congratulate Matthew and this year's SAVE Award finalists, we also recommit ourselves to following their example and working to deliver the American people the efficient, effective government they deserve," wrote Jeff Zients, OMB's deputy director for management and chief performance officer in a blog post Thursday.

Ritsko will present his idea to President Barack Obama in the next two months and OMB will included it in the fiscal 2013 budget request.

Along with Ritsko, the three other final ideas also will be part of the budget request, Zients said.

The other finalists included:

  • Reduce reviews of properties ranked superior — Housing and Urban Development conducts annual management and occupancy reviews of multifamily properties that are privately-owned and subsidized by HUD. Many of these properties receive high marks year after year and consistently provide excellent service. Eileen Hearty of Denver proposed to reduce the frequency of reviews for high-performing properties, thus saving travel costs, staff time and fees paid by HUD for these reviews.

  • Stop buying hard copies of the U.S. Code Books — Kevin Korzeniewski, who works for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, proposed to stop automatically ordering these books as they are available online.

  • SSA should stop printing OASIS Magazine — Faith Stanfield, an employee at the Social Security Administration, suggested releasing the magazine only online to save printing and mailing costs.

This was the third year for the SAVE Awards. Last year Trudy Givens of the Bureau of Prisons won for her idea to stop printing copies of the Federal Register.

In 2009, Nancy Fichtner of the Veterans Affairs Department won for her idea of letting patients take home medications after their stay at a VA hospital ends.

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