Is it time to stop mailing the Federal Register?

SAVE Award winner suggests cutting the daily mailings

The Obama administration said today the 2010 Save Award went to Trudy Givens, who suggested that printing and mailing many hard copies of the Federal Register several times a week wastes money.

“The budget team at [the Office of Management and Budget] did a little digging and found that Trudy was right — most folks access the Register online, but it is still sent to thousands of federal employees in hard copies every day,” Jeffrey Zients,  the government's chief performance officer and acting director of OMB, wrote in an e-mail message sent today to announce the award.

Givens is a 19-year employee of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons in Oxford, Wis. She noticed that the publication that lists meeting dates, new regulations and presidential documents were being delivered in hard copy several times a week. Few employees referenced the hard copy but many read it online, Zients wrote.


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The law requires the government to make hard copies available, but offering employees a choice to receive or not receive the printed version could yield savings associated with printing and postage, according to OMB.

For example, the public was offered a similar choice to receive the printed copy of the Register, which also included a fee. As a result, the number of printed copies mailed was reduced from roughly 25,000 to 500 recipients.

Currently, the Register is mailed to approximately 8,000 federal employees every workday.

“This sounded like a common-sense idea for savings to us — and it did to thousands of you as well,” Zients wrote.

The Save Award gives federal employees on the front lines and those outside Washington a chance to suggest ways agencies can save money. Federal employees submitted more than 18,000 ideas this year.

Zients said more than 57,000 people voted in the contest.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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