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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 4, 1995


More than two years ago, I promised to fix the Federal Government. I was firmly convinced that we could do more with less, that we could create a Government that was "leaner but not meaner," and that we could make Government our partner rather than a problem.

I established the National Performance Review and put Vice President Gore in charge. He and his team have helped to transform Government, to cut bureaucracy and red tape, and to find ways to give the American people the service they deserve. At the same time, my economic plan is bringing down the deficit by more than $600 billion, and we are proposing another $81 billion in deficit reduction in the budget I recently sent to Congress.

A major element of my strategy was my commitment to streamline and cut the Federal workforce. For too long in Washington, we have had too many layers of bureaucracy, too many workers whose main job was to check on the work of other workers rather than to perform useful work themselves. As the National Performance Review noted, we had good people trapped in bad systems. I promised to cut the workforce, and that's what I'm doing. Through our efforts, we have already cut the workforce by 102,000 positions and we are on track to cut it by a total of 272,900 positions, bringing it to its smallest size since John Kennedy was President.

While committed to cutting the workforce, we want to do it in a humane way. We faced the same dilemma that confronted many private companies; they needed to downsize but wanted to avoid firing large numbers of loyal employees. Many of them have given people an incentive to leave by offering "buyouts." We wanted to do the same.

Early last year, Congress approved my request to allow non-Defense agencies to offer buyouts of up to $25,000 a person. The Defense Department and a few other agencies already could offer buyouts under existing law. Because normal attrition will help us downsize in the future, we offered buyouts only until March 31, 1995, which was last Friday.

Looking back, I can safely say that our buyout program has been a huge success. It achieved what we had hoped -- to help us cut the workforce in a fiscally responsible and humane way.

To reduce the workforce by 102,000 positions by the end of fiscal 1994, we offered about 70,000 buyouts. Several non-DOD agencies have offered deferred buyouts that will take place between now and March 1997. Defense will be using buyouts as it continues to downsize through 1999. Counting those, we expect to buy out another 84,000 workers through 1997 as we reduce the workforce by a total of 272,900 positions.

The buyouts were not offered in a random fashion, however. We targeted them to reduce the layers of bureaucracy and micro-management that were tying Government in knots. We made sure that departments and agencies tied their buyout strategies to their overall plans to streamline their bureaucracies. As a result, almost 70 percent of our buyouts in the non-Defense agencies have gone to people at higher grade levels, such as managers.

I'm proud that our buyout program was so successful. It shows that we can, in fact, create a Government that works better and costs less.