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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release September 7, 1993


Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed

has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you

have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.

Henry David Thoreau

Unlike many past efforts to change the government, the

National Performance Review will not end with the publication of

a report. We have identified what we must do to make government

work better and cost less: We must serve our customers, cut red

tape, empower employees to get results, and cut back to basics.

Now, we will take action.

The task is immense. The federal government has 2.1 million

civilian employees, 800,000 postal workers, 1.8 million military

personnel, and a $1.5 trillion budget--more than the entire gross

domestic product of Germany, the world's third largest economy.

The National Performance Review has identified the problems

and defined solutions. The President will issue directives,

cabinet secretaries will change administrative practices, and

Office of Management and Budget will issue guidance. We will work

with Congress for legislation where it's needed. Senseless

regulations will be repealed; mechanisms to enhance customer

service will be created; change will begin.

But we do not pretend to have solved every problem. We will

transform the federal government only if our actions--and the

Reinvention Teams and Labs now in place in every

department--succeed in planting a seed. That seed will sprout

only if we create a process of ongoing change that branches

outward from the work we have already done.

This performance review will not produce another report just to

gather dust in some warehouse. We have enough of them already.

President Bill Clinton

Remarks announcing the National Performance Review, March 3, 1993

How we proceed will be as important as what we have done to

date. We must avoid the pull of implementation models that are

familiar and comfortable but poorly suited to today's world. We

must avoid creating new bureaucracies to reform the old. We must

actively involve government leaders at all levels. We must seek

the guidance of those who have successfully transformed large

organizations in both the private and public sectors.

The nature of our strategies will no doubt cause discomfort.

They will be unfamiliar. They will not look like business as

usual. They will challenge the current federal culture. And they

will demand risk-taking.

If we are to bring about true change, however, some

discomfort is inevitable. Our strategies are not untested; they

have been used successfully by both public and private

organizations throughout the country.

What we're trying to do is to create a large number of changes,

simultaneously, in the federal government. Because if you just

change one thing without changing some of the other things that

need to be changed, we won't get anywhere. We can bring the

quality revolution, for example, into the federal workforce as

well as it could possibly be done, and if we didn't fix some of

the other problems, it wouldn't amount to much. We could fix the

personnel system, but if we didn't fix the budgetary system and


procurement system, then we would still be mired in a lot of the

difficulties that we encounter today. We are trying to do a lot

of things at the same time.

Vice President Al Gore

Town Hall Meeting,

Department of Veterans Affairs

August 4, 1993

To succeed where others have failed, the President and Vice

President have committed to specific initiatives that will create

a culture capable of sustaining fundamental change. This shift in

culture will not occur overnight. To bring it about, we will


ownership at the highest levels of the executive branch;


citizens; and

facilitate plans for reinvention.

The administration has already taken a number of steps to

bring about the changes we are recommending.

First, we have launched Reinvention Teams and Reinvention

Labs in every department to continue seeking ways to improve the

government and put these ideas in practice.

Second, we have begun to work--and will continue to expand

relationships--with leaders and representatives of federal

employees from throughout the government. Indeed, the National

Performance Review is the first government-wide change initiative

to be run and staffed by federal employees. Our actions will make

employees' jobs better, and their participation will make our

actions better.

Third, the President and Vice President have begun to work

with the cabinet to develop performance agreements that will

institutionalize a commitment to and establish accountability for


Fourth, we have developed a mechanism to spread our basic

principles throughout the government. The President will meet

with the cabinet to develop strategies reflecting these

principles and ideas, committing all involved to take

responsibility for changing the way we do business. Cabinet

members will then go through the same process with their senior

managers, who will go through it with their senior managers, and

so on.

Fifth, the President is establishing a management council

to monitor change and provide guidance and resources to those

working to bring it about. The President's Management Council

will be charged with responsibility for changing the culture and

management of the federal government.

Sixth, the Federal Quality Institute will help agencies with

access to information, education, research, and consultation on

quality management. Like our other initiatives, this models a

basic tenet of the behavior we recommend--encouraging managers to

define their own missions and tasks, but providing the support

they need to do a good job.

Seventh, we will launch future reviews of the federal

government, targeted at specific problems. The National

Performance Review was a learning experience; we learned what we

could do in six months, and what we still need to do. We focused

heavily on the basic systems that drive federal agencies: the

budget, personnel, procurement, financial management,

accountability, and management systems. In subsequent reviews, we

will narrow our focus. For example, we plan a review of the

antiquated federal field office structure, which dates from the

1930s and contains some 30,000 field offices. (See Chapter 4.)

Other targets might include the abandonment of obsolete programs;

the elimination of unproductive subsidies; the redesign of failed

programs; the redefinition of relationships between the federal

government and state and local governments; and the

reinvigoration of relationships between the executive and

legislative branches.

Finally, the National Performance Review will continue to

rely on its greatest asset: the federal employees who made it

happen. They have all worked hard for change, and many will

continue to work on reinvention in their own agencies. They

constitute a network that will reach out to other employees,

sharing their enthusiasm, energy, and ideas.

Our task is not to fix the blame for the past, but to fix the

course for the future.

President John F. Kennedy

During this process, a vision of change will emerge beyond

that which is contained in this report. Leadership and management

values will, over time, change--not in response to a mandate, but

because people are working together to change their government.

If we have done our job well, the next generation of changes will

be built on the foundation we have laid with this report. We are

merely initial planners; the President, the Vice President, the

cabinet, federal managers and employees will be the architects

and builders.

Despite all the horror stories and years of scorn heaped on

federal employees, our government is staffed by people committed

to their jobs, qualified to do them better, and hungry for the

opportunity to try. The environment and culture of government

have discouraged many of these people; the system has undermined

itself. But we can--and will--change that environment and


Over time, it will become increasingly obvious that people

are not the problem. As old ways of thinking and acting are

replaced by a culture that promotes reinvention and quality, a

new face of government will appear--the face of employees newly

empowered and newly motivated, and of customers newly satisfied.

What Reinventing Government Means for You

We have talked enough of what we will do and how we will

change. The more important question is how life will change for

you, the American people.

If we succeed--if the administration can implement our

recommended actions and Congress can pass our legislative

package--you will begin to see a different government. Your mail

will be delivered more rapidly. When you call a Social Security

office, you'll get through. When you call the Internal Revenue

Service, you'll get accurate answers-- and if you don't, you will

no longer be penalized.

If you lose your job, a local career center will help you

find a new one. If you want retraining, or you want to go back to

school, you'll find counselors who can help you sort out your

options, pick the best program, and pay for it. If you run a

small business, you will have fewer forms to fill out.

Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood, and

probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim

high in hope and work, remembering that a noble logical diagram,

once recorded, will never die, but long after we are gone will be

a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency.

Daniel Burnham 1907

If you live in public housing, your apartment complex might

get cleaner and safer. Perhaps you'll even be able to move your

family to a safer, quieter, more stable neighborhood.

Our workplaces will get safer because they are inspected

more often. Our water will get cleaner. Your local government

will work better because it is no longer hamstrung by silly



And perhaps the federal debt--that $4 trillion albatross

around the necks of our children and grandchildren--will slow its

rampage. Our federal agencies will begin to figure out, bit by

bit by bit, how to cut spending, eliminate the obsolete, and

provide better service for less money.

You will begin to feel, when you walk into a post office or

social security office or employment service or veterans'

hospital, like a valued customer. We will begin to spend more

money on things you want and need--health care, training,

education, environmental protection--and less on bureaucracy. One

day you will be able to conclude that you are getting a dollar of

value for every dollar of taxes you pay.

This is our vision of a government that works better and

costs less. We know it will not come to be overnight, but we

believe it is a vision we can bring to life. We believe this

because we have already seen this vision come to life--in local

governments, in state agencies, even in a few federal agencies.

We believe it is the right vision for government as we approach

the 21st century.

It will take more than a dedicated President and Vice

President to make this vision a reality, however. It will take

more than dedicated employees. It will take dedicated citizens,

willing to work long and hard to improve their government.

It will take citizens willing to push their social security

offices and unemployment offices to treat them like

customers--and to demand that their voices be heard when they

don't get satisfaction. It will take citizens willing to demand

information about the performance of their federal organizations.

And it will take citizens willing to act on the basis of that


As our President has said so often, the future is ours--if

we have the courage to create it.