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Federal Agencies Honored at President's Quality Award Ceremony

By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 25, 2002 – "Doing the job that taxpayers expect," is what earned three federal organizations the 2002 President's Quality Award, said George W. Bush today. The annual award is given each year to those government organizations that have demonstrated efficient business and management practices.

During a ceremony at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Office of Personnel Management Director Kay Coles James joined the president in presenting the crystal eagle statuette symbolizing management excellence to the three winners, two of them in DoD.

Awardees were the "Fighting" 55th Wing, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.; the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, Bethesda, Md.; and the Federal Aviation Administration Logistics Center, Oklahoma City, Okla.

They were selected among hundreds of submissions from government agencies and organizations across the federal bureaucracy.

"These are examples of what can happen when people put their mind to delivering excellence on behalf of the taxpayers," Bush said. "There's creativity and flexibility, people willing to think outside of the 'proverbial' box. And as a result, our country is better off."

James, who described today's winners as "the best of the best," said the criteria for the President's Quality Award is based upon the 2001 President's Management Agenda that calls for government-wide reforms in five areas:

Strategic Management of Human Capital: government citizen-oriented.

Competitive Sourcing: more efficient and effective competition between public and private sources.

Improved financial performance: better financial reporting procedures to end erroneous payments and reduce costs.

Expanded electronic government: more advanced e-government strategies that support projects offering performance gains.

Budget and Performance integrations: greater focus on performance, integration of performance reviews with budget decisions. Putting one presidential initiative to good use, the 55th Wing used competitive sourcing to save taxpayers millions of dollars. As largest wing in the Air Force's Air Combat Command, the 55th employs 6,400 federal employees, 2,100 contractors, plus 3,197 more employees in tenant organizations. However, by outsourcing 30 percent of its work, the unit was able to eliminate 848 positions, resulting in an estimated $46 million saved in annual personnel costs. "They made sure that the system was efficient and effective," Bush said. "They recognize that there are different ways to meet goals, and they encourage the entrepreneurial spirit as a part of meeting the goals that we expect." "We were really thrilled by our selection. All of our folks put forth a big effort in this accomplishment, to save taxpayer dollars," Brig. Gen. Timothy C. Jones, 55th commander, said. "Like the president stated in his speech, 'We have to do right by our taxpayers.'" The president explained the importance of the quality awards and encouraged all the winners to share the award throughout their organizations.

"One of the reasons why we have these awards is to hold up your example for other people in government," Bush said. "Other people should recognize that if they make the right decisions, set high goals, are creative about achieving those goals, they, too, can receive this award, which is an important award."

The president the told the winners: "When you get back to your offices, make sure your fellow employees know how proud we are of the work that you've done; how proud we are of their service to our country; what a credit they are to the greatest country on the face of the Earth."

Among the finalists for the 2002 quality awards was DoD's TRICARE Management Activity for its Pharmacy Data Transaction Service. The pharmacy service uses state-of- the-art technology to link patient information between pharmacies at military treatment facilities, the National Mail Order Program and civilian retailers that are part of the TRICARE managed-care network.

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