On Monday morning, President Obama and Vice President Biden announced the launch of a government-wide Campaign to Cut Waste. The campaign builds on the Administration’s ongoing efforts to make government more efficient, responsive, and accountable to the American people. The goal is to find and eliminate unnecessary expenditures of taxpayer dollars across the federal government. As Vice President Biden said during his press conference, we want to create “the most transparent and efficient Federal Government in our lifetime.”
The Campaign will include two key elements: a new oversight and accountability board, and regular meetings where Cabinet members will report directly to the Vice President on progress in cutting waste and delivering results. Both will build on the successful and unprecedented transparency and accountability the Vice President oversaw during the spending of Recovery Act funds.
As the Labor Department’s Chief Operating Officer, I worked closely with Vice President Biden’s team to make sure that Recovery Act funds distributed through the Labor Department were accounted for; we distributed funds quickly and efficiently; and where we found fraud, waste or abuse, we addressed it. I know our entire leadership team is eager to continue and expand our efforts consistent with the President’s new campaign.
One of the campaign’s first steps will be targeting duplication among the estimated 24,000 Federal Government websites. The Labor Department’s Customer Service Modernization Program (CSMP) is finding ways to make the department’s websites easier to use. For example, we’ve reduced the number of public-facing email addresses on DOL websites by over 1,300. The elimination of duplicative or out-of-date email addresses is making it easier for our customers to contact the correct agency or individual to address their concerns.
As part of future steps in the CSMP, we will also be streamlining our web presence and consolidating websites to provide the public with easier and more intuitive ways to communicate with DOL. These moves won’t just save the department money – they will make DOL more responsive to inquiries and complaints and thus allow us to better serve our stakeholders.
Since Secretary Solis and the rest of our leadership team began our work in 2009, our goal has been to deliver services more effectively and efficiently to the American public, and at the lowest cost possible. The Campaign to Cut Waste and the President’s accompanying Executive Order align with several DOL efforts already underway, and will guide our work moving forward.
Every bit of resources we save will permit a more intensive focus on job training and skills development programs, enforcement of workplace laws, and improved outcomes for workers across the country. Simply, the Campaign to Cut Waste will allow us to more efficiently achieve our department’s mission: Good Jobs for Everyone.
Seth Harris is the Deputy Secretary of Labor.