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Presidential Management Improvement Awards Remarks on Presenting the Awards for 1977.

May 23, 1978

THE PRESIDENT. We seem to have the Rose Garden full of proud people this afternoon, and I share that pride.

One of the consistent efforts of my own administration since I've been in office has been to improve the quality of service that our Federal Government provides to the American people. Every one of us here and every one of our associates and fellow workers throughout the Government has the job we have because the American people want and expect us to serve their needs and to serve them well. We are here for that purpose and for that purpose only, from the President of the United States on down.

The American people are not happy about the level of service that they have been receiving from their Government. I find that dissatisfaction every time I travel around the country. And it comes as no surprise to me. I know that there are many dedicated people in this Government who share my belief that Government performance can and should be improved.

The most effective and fundamental improvement that we can make is to reform the civil service system, to make it truly a merit system that rewards achievement and responds to human needs. I took the first and major step toward that in March when I sent to the Congress the first part of the civil service reform proposals. I'm very pleased at the prompt attention that Congress has given to this legislation. Committees in both the House and Senate have held extensive hearings already. The Senate began its markup this week, and we expect the House to begin quite soon.

Today I'm sending to the Congress the second and the final part of the civil service reform proposals, the reorganization plan itself. It creates an Office of Personnel Management to replace our antiquated and unfair hiring practices with the same kind of modern personnel management that is routine in any efficient, private, industrial organization.

It creates an independent Merit Systems Protection Board to safeguard the legitimate rights of Federal employees and to give active assistance and support to those employees who "blow the whistle" on illegal or improper activities.

It also creates a Federal Labor Relations Authority to provide a fairer and a more efficient way of handling labor and management disputes within the Government.

Congress has 60 days now to consider this reorganization plan before it takes effect. We've worked very closely with the Congress, and I'm confident that it deserves congressional support. And I think we will look back on this afternoon as the beginning of a very significant chapter in the improvement of our Government.

We have some people here today, some very distinguished guests whose personal accomplishments serve as a reminder of how much difference one person's efforts can make, even in a system such as we have now that is sometimes not conducive to excellence.

Each of these 11 guests is a Federal employee who has made exceptional contributions toward improving governmental economy and effectiveness. I've been told that if you add up the savings to the taxpayers brought about by just these 11 people, it comes to more than $13,500,000. And I have signed congratulatory letters to more than 550 other Federal employees for outstanding contributions of a like manner.

They did it through personal imagination, through personal diligence, through personal initiative. We have some awards to present them which they truly deserve.

Let me say that the point I want to make this afternoon—and I think all of them here with me would agree—that instead of giving awards once a year on special occasions to a few of the most outstanding employees, what we need most is a civil service system that rewards good performance every day, day in and day out.

Today I want to congratulate these people who personify the spirit of quality performance that I and they are all determined to extend throughout our Government. Congratulations to all of you. You've made us very proud. You've served our Government well, and these awards are certainly deserved because of your outstanding contributions.

ALAN K. CAMPBELL. The President will make the awards individually.

First, from the Department of Interior, Dr. Joseph M. Botbol and Roger W. Bowen for development of a computer-based system that facilitates handling and analysis of mineral and energy research information and has saved the Government an estimated $1.5 million.

From the Department of the Treasury, Yolanda H. Carrillo, for suggesting a change in procedures for preparing corrections to data in the Internal Revenue Service ADP system that has resulted in an estimated $184,000 savings during its first year.

From the Department of Agriculture, Dr. Ernest L. Corley, for outstanding leadership in the reorganization within the Agricultural Research Service and in the design of an effective management planning system.

From the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Mr. Curtis R. Helms and Mr. Thomas W. Winstead, for exceptional engineering achievement in redesigning the space shuttle external fuel tank, resulting in less cost per flight, creating payload capability and total program savings of $5.8 million.

From the Veterans Administration, Mr. Jack B. Johnson, for suggesting a change in the method of installing cash registers supplied to the hospital canteen service, which has saved the Government $100,000.

From the Department of the Navy, Mr. Thomas H. Mills, Mr. Milford Rhodes, and Mr. Winfred Hodges for suggesting a method for reclaiming fuel oil which otherwise would have been unusable that saved the Government approximately $180,000.

And finally, from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Mr. L. David Taylor, for outstanding management and administrative initiatives which significantly improved the Department's services to the public and saved an estimated $6 million.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I think you can all see what the reasons are for the broad smiles that have been up here this afternoon and for the sense of partnership that we feel in striving on a daily basis to make our Government more effective and more efficient and to provide those services which the American people deserve and which they expect of us.

I want to say that these are not persons who are exceptional in that they share high achievement and deep dedication with many hundreds of thousands of fellow governmental workers, and this inspiration to them in being honored, I'm sure, will encourage others to achieve just as high a service to the American people.

I think that one of the most impressive thoughts that have come to me since I've been in the White House is how deeply dedicated civil servants are, how they want to do an even better job, and how sometimes the bureaucratic obstacles make it very difficult for them to do so. But these 11 men and women have surmounted those obstacles and have proven themselves to be outstanding in every respect.

Thank you again very much, and congratulations from all of us.

Note: The President spoke at 2 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House. Alan K. Campbell is Chairman of the U.S. Civil Service Commission.

Jimmy Carter, Presidential Management Improvement Awards Remarks on Presenting the Awards for 1977. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/244940

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