View Header
                         THE WHITE HOUSE
     For Immediate Release          Wednesday, April 6, 1994


      Vice President Hears About Streamlined Processes, 
      Improved Customer Service Standards
      Urges All Departments, Agencies To Continue
      Making Government Work Better, Cost Less
          WASHINGTON -- Vice President Al Gore and Commerce 
     Secretary Ron Brown today (4/6) met with Department of 
     Commerce reinvention leaders from Newark, NJ, and 
     Baltimore, MD, who have streamlined government 
     bureaucracy and improved customer service standards, 
     and presented to them National Performance Review 
     Hammer Awards for exemplifying the principles of making 
     government work better and cost less.
          "At the Department of Commerce, you are making a 
     difference when it comes to improving government 
     effectiveness and efficiency.  You are putting your 
     customers, the American taxpayers, first, and giving 
     them the best service possible," the Vice President 
          Commerce Secretary Brown said, "These success 
     stories show that, together, we can and will give the 
     taxpayers a government with less cost, less 
     bureaucracy, less central control and mistrust, less 
     mind-numbing regulations, and much, much better 
          The Vice President praised the department for 
     issuing "permission slips" that convey delegation of 
     authority and responsibility to all of its employees.  
     Commerce employees who previously felt powerless to fix 
     problems can now to take control of their jobs while 
     being held responsible for the results.  "Empowered to 
     make decisions and freed from red tape, you are 
     achieving incredible results," he said. 
          Highlighting the work of some of the department's 
     reinvention leaders, the Vice President talked with 
     employees from the Census Bureau in Newark, NJ, and the 
     Export Assistance Center in Baltimore, MD.
           Joann Burns, an employment statistic gatherer for 
     the Census Bureau, explained a new system they use 
     which has increased the accuracy and efficiency of 
     reporting data.  Burns, who was recently featured on 
     the MacNeil-Lehrer Report, said the census data she 
     gathered from interviews with Americans used to go 
     through an inefficient and cumbersome process before it 
     could be released.  She filled out forms with pencil 
     and paper which were shipped, along with hundreds of 
     other census gatherers' data, to a regional field 
     office where it would be checked for mistakes, then 
     sent to another location to be input into a mainframe 
     computer, and finally, transmitted back to this region 
     where it would be released publicly.
          Now Burns and other employees in her office who 
     are part of the Computer Assisted Statistical 
     Information Center Team use laptop computers.  At the 
     end of the day, they input their data and send it 
     through a modem to its final destination.  Burns 
     receives immediate feedback so that she can ask more 
     precise follow-up questions and, therefore, report more 
     accurate data on the country's employment and economic 
          "This new system saves money and time.  Using 
     modern technology, you have made government work better 
     at less cost," the Vice President told Burns and 
     Stanley Machett, the Census Bureau designer of the new 
     computerized system.
          The Vice President also talked with 
     representatives from the Export Assistance Center  in 
     Baltimore, MD.  The center is a one-stop, customer-
     service driven organization which combines the services 
     of the Commerce Department, the Small Business 
     Administration, and the Export-Import Bank so that 
     people can come to one place, one time, and get the 
     assistance they need.  The Baltimore office deals 
     primarily with American manufacturing businesses trying 
     to expand into foreign markets.  Steven Hall, a 
     Commerce Department account specialist, foresaw the 
     need for this partnership to serve better his 
          "The message from business owners and American 
     customers was clear:  they wanted harmonized programs 
     and services where they could find answers and get 
     help," the Vice President said.  "The Export Assistance 
     Center is proof that customer-driven government is 
     becoming a reality."
          Representatives from both Commerce Department 
     offices were presented with the Hammer Award by the 
     Vice President.  The award is given to federal 
     employees who exemplify the principles of making 
     government work better and cost less -- those who are 
     breaking down unnecessary bureaucracy to build a better 
          In addition to praising the work of the Newark and 
     Baltimore offices, Vice President Gore commended Paige 
     Gilbert, a lab manager for the National Institute of 
     Standards and Technology at the Commerce Department in 
     Boulder, CO.  She helped to simplify the procedures for 
     recruiting bright students from the University of 
     Colorado into government careers.  By simply paying the 
     university directly for the students' services, she 
     eliminated a burdensome approval process.
          Reinvention efforts at the Commerce Department are 
     part of a government wide effort to improve federal 
     service.  On September 11, President Clinton signed an 
     Executive Order on Setting Customer Service Standards.  
     It directs the federal government to provide the 
     highest quality service possible to the American people 
     -- service that matches or exceeds the best available 
     in the private sector.
          The Executive Order on Customer Service Standards 
     is a result of the Vice President's National 
     Performance Review:  Creating a Government That Works 
     Better and Costs Less.  The report is a detailed plan 
     with hundreds of recommendations and cost-savings 
     reforms.  About 80 percent of those recommendations 
     already are being put in place across the federal