2013 SAVE Award finalists focus on electronic, online practices

Tuesday - 12/17/2013, 8:33am EST

The Office of Management and Budget has announced the four finalists for the 2013 Securing Americans Value and Efficiency (SAVE) Award.

These federal employees are brimming with ideas on how to make their agencies more efficient and less wasteful.

President Barack Obama's SAVE Award "has tapped the knowledge and expertise of frontline federal workers to help improve government performance and ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely," OMB Director Sylvia Burwell wrote in a blog post.

The award was created in 2009. Since then, thousands of federal employees have submitted ideas on how to curb unnecessary spending and increase government efficiency.

Frederick Winter of the Department of Education won the 2012 SAVE Award. He proposed feds receiving public transit benefits should shift from regular fare to reduced senior fare, as soon as they are eligible.

His idea was incorporated into the fiscal 2014 budget.

This year's four finalists are:

  • Kenneth Siehr: Online Tracking of Veterans Mail Prescription Deliveries
    Director of the Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy at the Department of Veterans Affairs
    VA currently sends most outpatient prescriptions via mail. For veterans to track their medications, they must call VA Medical Center. Siehr proposes making tracking information available online to save pharmacy staff time and enhance customer service.

  • Patrick Mindiola: Electronic Passport Notification
    Customer service representative at the National Passport Information Center
    Rather than sending Information Request Letters (IRLs) in response to passport applications by mail, Mindiola recommends communicating via email instead. Email would help to prevent delays and save unnecessary added costs.

  • Dirk Renner: Share Certifications Across Agencies
    Biologist at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
    Renner recently found out his USDA Forest Service All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) training was not transferable to FWS. He recommends allowing certifications to transfer across agencies, in an effort to reduce duplicative training and save time.

  • Buyar Hayrula: Collect Custom Fines and Penalties Online
    Passenger control secondary officer at Customs and Border Protection
    Hayrula's idea is to create a secure website where CBP officers can collect payments by credit card at land ports of entry. The current process sends a payment request by mail when no cashier is available. Allowing credit card payments would increase revenue collections and reduce wait times for those entering the U.S.

Public voting for one of the finalists is open until Friday, Dec. 20, at 12 p.m. EST.

The winner will present his or her idea to the President in the Oval Office.