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Obama announces return of SAVE Award

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama wants federal employees to submit their ideas for eliminating government waste and saving American taxpayers’ money as part of the 2010 SAVE Award program.

Obama made the announcement in a video on the White House website July 8.

“If you see a way that the government can do its job better or do the same job for less money, I want to know about it,” he said.

The program — its acronym stands for “securing Americans’ value and efficiency” — began last year and was an instant success.

“In just three weeks, federal employees submitted more than 38,000 ideas identifying opportunities to save money and improve performance,” said Peter Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Nancy Fichtner, a fiscal program support clerk at the Colorado Veterans Affairs Hospital in Grand Junction, Colo., received the 2009 SAVE award for her proposal that saved about $2 million. She suggested that the Veterans Affairs Department find a way to reuse medicines that are prescribed by physicians, but not used by patients.

The deadline for submissions is July 22, with the winners being announced in September.

“In a change from last year, we also are asking federal employees to help rate the submissions from their fellow workers,” Orszag said. “This new feature will allow employees to apply their insight to the evaluation process, making sure the best ideas make it into the fiscal 2012 budget.”

Some of the most innovative ideas for efficiencies and savings come from those federal employees on the front lines, Obama said.

Civil servants interested in submitting their ideas should go to