Fourth Annual SAVE Awards

Another year, another opportunity to tell the Obama Administration how to save money. Federal employees can submit their efficiency ideas in the 4th annual SAVE Award competition. The winner will be invited to the White House to present his or her idea to the President and the top ideas will be included in the Administration’s fiscal year 2014 budget submission. The deadline for submission is Tuesday, July 24. For more information, go to

Most of the ideas are kind of lame (e.g., turn out the lights, print on both sides, hybrid cars, telework, etc.), but once every 100 or so ideas you will find something practical, useful, and feasible. Lots of re-runs from previous years, but give it a shot!

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What the agencies, per guidance, are really looking for are SAVE Award ideas which can be implemented without the need for new legislation. This is mostly going to mean admin savings rather than program savings, although there may be limited exceptions.

Terrence (Terry) Hill

With over 4,000 ideas submitted already, I recommend that you click on the “Popular” tab to see the front runners. I didn’t even bother to submit an idea this year. 99% are the same ideas as the last three years and to be honest, I haven’t seem much substantive change as a result of this effort.

I think that each agency should have their own version of the SAVE award for internal operations, but the system should be moderated to combine similar/related ideas and to eliminate the “weeds.” There also needs to be a “thumbs down” option in order to disagree with some of the ideas.


The “thumbs down” option was there last time and didn’t work out. A “thumbs down” subtracted one pont from the vote total. People seemed to use this feature purely for political, personal or competitive reasons, without regard for the substantive merits of the idea. By “personal,” I mean the type of commentary that starts out with, “I used to work in an office with someone who did the opposite, all the time, so therefore . . . . “

I believe that the coordination of SAVE should rotate each year among the major federal agencies. The agency that seems to have the most involvement in SAVE would logically have a conflict of interest, i.e., not want to put much effort into implementing ideas it has (1) never thought of; (2) passed on in the past; or (3) was not able to elicit from the involved agency or agencies.