The Office of Management and Budget issued guidance on Friday to federal agencies to take additional actions to increase efficiency and strengthen accountability in the areas of travel, conferences, real estate and fleet management.
The new guidance builds on work already underway to scrutinize travel and conference budgets that began last September when OMB directed agency leadership to conduct thorough reviews of their agency’s spending in travel and conferences.
“These are all common sense steps that will save taxpayer dollars by eliminating waste and improving government operations – all while maintaining the core government functions that the American people count on,” said Acting OMB Director Jeff Zients. “And they are part of our commitment to take every step necessary to ensure that we’re delivering the American people the efficient and effective government they deserve.”
So far, these efforts and others have already produced more than $280 million in reduced costs in the first quarter of fiscal year 2012 compared to the same period in fiscal year 2010, OMB said.
Friday’s guidance builds on these results and will produce hundreds of millions in additional savings including:
- Require agencies to decrease spending on travel by 30 percent;
- Require deputy secretaries to review any conference where the agency spending could exceed $100,000;
- Prohibit agencies from spending over $500,000 on a conference unless the agency’s secretary approves a waiver;
- Require agencies to post publicly each January on the prior year’s conference spending, including descriptions of agency conferences that cost more than $100,000.
Beyond travel and conferences, the guidance also directs agencies to move swiftly to dispose of excess properties held by the federal government, and to make more efficient use of existing government real estate. To accomplish this, the guidance freezes the federal real estate footprint, prohibiting agencies from increasing the size of their civilian real estate inventories, except under limited circumstances.