Mass transit idea wins SAVE award

Friday - 12/21/2012, 9:07pm EST

Garnering more than 41 percent of the votes, Frederick Winter's idea to shift eligible federal employees to the reduced senior transit fare for public transportation under the employee subsidy program is the 2012 SAVE award winner.

The Office of Management and Budget announced the results Friday, detailing that the Education Department employee's idea received more than 19,000 of the 46,000 votes cast for the four finalists.

"In the D.C. area, this change would lower the cost of the employee's travel by 50 percent, with no loss in the effective benefits for the employee," wrote OMB acting Director Jeff Zients in a blog post. "Frederick will have the opportunity to meet with President [Barack] Obama in person in the Oval Office to discuss his winning idea. And as in past years, each of the finalists' ideas will be incorporated in the President's budget, and all other Save award submissions will be reviewed for potential inclusion."

OMB opened voting just this past Tuesday for the fourth annual Securing Americans Value and Efficiency (SAVE) award contest.

Previous winners included Nancy Fichtner's idea in 2009 to let veterans take home the medication they receive at the Veteran Affairs hospital instead of throwing it away. In 2010, Trudy Givens of the Bureau of Prisons won for suggesting ending the mailing of thousands of Federal Registers to federal employees.

In 2011, NASA's Matthew Ritsko proposed a "lending library" to make it easier for agencies to find tools and equipment that others already paid for and could be reused.

NASA is implementing Ritsko's idea.

"As part of this and in an effort to save taxpayer dollars, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., has established a 'Freeshare' program, which will recycle stock type items that aren't needed," said NASA spokesman Allard Beutel in an email to Federal News Radio. "The Goddard team also is in the process of identifying warehouse space for storing equipment that can be recycled, as well as potential space in buildings where engineering labs are located. NASA's ultimate goal is to save $1 million by creating this type of centralized system for the reuse of equipment."

Requests to VA and the Bureau of Prisons on the status of implementing the other SAVE Award winner's ideas were not returned.

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