I agree to Idea No Penalty For Saving
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I disagree to Idea No Penalty For Saving

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Department of the Interior »

No Penalty For Saving

Every year it seems that all agencies spend 100% of their annual budget. Managers feel that, if they don't spend it all, the following year's budget will be reduced. We need to reward managers that operate under budget and assure them that their next years budget will not be reduced. They may even get more than budgeted based on how much they saved in the previous years. That will stop offices, agencies and organizations from spending money unnecessarily just to avoid having their budgets penalized the following year. Won't cost anything to incorporate and could realize instant savings government wide.

Of course these managers would need to complete their missions to the satisfaction of the taxpayers.

Submitted by 4 years ago

Comments (43)

  1. This idea is too generic and easy. The question is how to effectively do that on a broad scale? Search on key works incentives or reserves and find the idea "Create Incentives for Fed Workforce to Save Money" This explains a proposed new budgeting paradigm that then provides a portion of savings to be available to be used as rewards to employees responsible.

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  2. This idea is too generic and easy. The question is how to effectively do that on a broad scale? Search on key works incentives or reserves and find the idea "Create Incentives for Fed Workforce to Save Money" This explains a proposed new budgeting paradigm that then provides a portion of savings to be available to be used as rewards to employees responsible.

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  3. I recall at the end of the last FY, someone the Department "had" to use up the remaining money in the budget. They bought some flat screen TVs which are not used, just big shiny black wall decorations

    4 years ago
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    0 Disagreed
  4. Community Member Idea Submitter

    Exactly!

    4 years ago
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  5. I have witnessed needless spending for the last 17 years that I have worked for the government. Very good idea.

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  6. This issue needs a solution, but beware the flipside, in which managers decide not to fund programs to the level Congress has directed, in order to use the "incentives" for other purposes of their own. Incentives must be tied to completion of tangible objectives while saving money (earned value sort of idea), not just for saving the money if the work has not been completed on time with high quality.

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  7. This is very true, "use it or lose it later" mentality. Budget consideration should be irrelevant from previous charges, especially considering the fragility of scientific endeavor. Most overestimate how much they would need so that if an emergency comes up or the project needs to be expanded, they are allowed that. If they don't need to use it, why punish them next year on the next project? Good idea!

    4 years ago
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    0 Disagreed
  8. Problem is... Congress appropriates $X for a certain fiscal year and intends that, if those funds are appropriated for that FY that they will be spent in that year---in their entirety. Congress can (and does) appropriate multi-year and no-year money; agencies never rush to spend their multi-year or no-year money because they can save it for later years and do use it for emergencies, long projects, or to smooth out budget shortfalls caused by a drop in annual appropriations. This is an issue for Congress. If you want money to be available for multiple years, bring it up with your agency's appropriators (in Congress). Just make sure it is fully justified because Congress carefully guards its power of the purse.

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  9. This plan seems to simple to overcome the complexities of appropriations law, which is not going to be changed by an executive order. The fundamental principle of appropriations is that the money is to be used only for the fiscal year for which it was appropriated. It is a nice idea, but not one that will actually work.

    4 years ago
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    0 Disagreed
  10. Laws can be changed.

    4 years ago
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  11. Changing appropriations law is like eating an elephant in a single bite. Zero-base budgeting combined with a portfolio management approach should solve this problem, ensuring that EOY funds are spent in meaningful ways. Also beneficial are revolving capital funds that can support work across fiscal years on projects that do not have multi-year funding.

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  12. Community Member Idea Submitter

    If there are programs or solutions in place for this situation they need to be spotlighted or resurrected so every head of every agency is aware of there existence because this is a definite problem. I would guess many millions are wasted each year because agencies felt a need to spend.

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  13. I have seen this first hand in the DHS sector. Spend everything at the last minute to get more. Allow units with operating budgets to have the freedom to SAVE A BUCK.

    4 years ago
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    0 Disagreed
  14. Here is a suggested solution:

    1. All EOY funds not spent shall be appied directly to the federal deficit. No re-appropriation should be allowed.

    2. Agencies who meet expectations under budget may be recognized, and a reward offered for the top performers.

    3. Agencies who perform under budget over 3 years may be asked to provide a better budget analysis, and possibly offered a promotion.

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  15. This happened in my office last FY. We had left over money in our office operating budget, so we bought 3 huge fake trees. We “had to spend it” rather than allocating it elsewhere like into employee development. We are always told that there is not money for training BUT we can buy 3 fake trees!

    4 years ago
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  16. This would never work in the government. You would have some managers cutting back on everything just to get recognized at the expense of their employees needs. I would rather have limited training opportunities and 3 fake trees than to have some possibly selfish SES hoard all the money to get recognized as an "innovative leader". We as managers and leaders in the government need to inspire our people by our selfless actions. Only then will we get the most out of our employees and make the governemnt efficient as it will ever be. Thank you.

    4 years ago
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    0 Disagreed
  17. Our office bought three years worth of staples and four cars. The cars sat in our parking lot for almost six months before being used by field personel. They also bought a TV, and a new server, which still has nothing on it.

    4 years ago
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    0 Disagreed
  18. Our office bought three years worth of staples and four cars. The cars sat in our parking lot for almost six months before being used by field personel. They also bought a TV, and a new server, which still has nothing on it.

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  19. Community Member Idea Submitter

    The managers should be recognized and rewards should be distributed throughout all of the rank and file as long as the mission was accomplished under budget and meets quality requirements.

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  20. Community Member Idea Submitter

    We were given money earmarked for security purposes. When they ran out of practical, needed security items, they spent the balance, $75,000, on 10 portable generators/light plants. That was years ago. Some have beeen given to other agencies but, for the most part, they just sit there. Some have never been used and the fuel has been removed to keep them from gumming up. The fuel lines are cracked and dry and wouldn't work anyway.

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  21. I submitted an idea very similar to this last year with the only difference being all employees (Management and Line staff)within a decision unit should reap the reward of cost containment/savings. There are plenty of posted examples of wasteful year end spending which could support an incentive plan. Anything is an improvement over the current antiquated method.

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  22. I submitted an idea very similar to this last year with the only difference being all employees (Management and Line staff)within a decision unit should reap the reward of cost containment/savings. There are plenty of posted examples of wasteful year end spending which could support an incentive plan. Anything is an improvement over the current antiquated method.

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  23. I think the author (and others submitting similar suggestions, and there are many who made this one) misses a priniciple point of this idea process, that it has to be within the executive branch's power to change (at least as I understand this contest). Congress determines if funds are 1 year, multi-year or no year funds, not the President or his cabinet members. Federal Appropriations Law 101 unfortunately.

    I do agree with what the idea presenter and many other are suggesting however, that annual appropriation cycles are both disruptive and cause wasteful spending.

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  24. Community Member Idea Submitter

    It's a definite problem and all of the barriers, laws, habits and everything else that controls this aspect of government needs to be adressed. Could even make for better planning once everyone realizes they don't have to inflate numbers just in case they may need a little more. If nothing else, have an independent party audit the purchases made in the last 2 months of the fiscal year and check purchases against justifications. That will expose some of the waste.

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  25. Community Member Idea Submitter

    This idea is in "Pending" status for , at least, the second time. Why is that?

    4 years ago
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    0 Disagreed
  26. I suggested this last year, and there are a number of duplicates, so the following comment is cut and pasted from a later idea.

    Use or lose budgets are a huge source of government waste. There is no easy solution, but it is imperitive for the government to stop punishing agencies and offices for saving money.

    When I was in the National Guard, we had to go to the range every year to expend all of our remaining ammunition. It was fun for a while, but we were firing so much that it became tedious. When you get BORED from shooting MACHINE GUNS, there is a problem.

    This practice also applies to aviation fuel budgets (or it did when I was in that community). In an era where oil resources are in question, we were burning it just to get rid of it.

    The USG could save hundreds of millions of dollars annually by implementing a supply system that rewards resource conservation instead of punishing it.

    I am not a supply/accounting expert, nor do I consider myself competent or knowledgable in any way. However, I don't believe in bringing up problems without proposing a solution; so here's my suggestion which should be taken with a planetoid of salt. Cut primary budgets but allow for emergency expenditures. Establish thresholds for triggering an audit that could prompt a basic budget increase. Thresholds would be either consecutive FYs into emergency funds, total emergency expenditure in a single FY, or a combination. This would have to be implemented on a small scale before expanding as the process is refined. Great care would have to be taken, as inappropriate haste in implementation could lead to increase in government bloat.

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  27. This will encourage managers to cut corners and and find unethical ways to save money so that they can get a "pat" on the back and be awarded.

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  28. Community Member Idea Submitter

    If a manager does something unethical,get rid of them. Seems to be a big fear of managers here. If someone said, turn off the lights to save energy, some defeatest on here would say that wears out the light switch, then you have to pay an electrician to replace it.

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  29. Community Member Idea Submitter

    Last night this idea had 238 votes, got put in a "Pending" status where no one could vote on it and today it has 199 votes. Don't matter to me but someone is manipulating the votes somehow, not just on this idea but on others as well. They must be bored. They should be identified and fired on the spot!

    4 years ago
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    0 Disagreed
  30. Same thing for our idea which had 269 votes last night, now at 229, similar situation.

    4 years ago
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    0 Disagreed
  31. Community Member Idea Submitter

    Someone needs to get canned.

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  32. Community Member Idea Submitter

    It's like saying you need 50 grand for your household for the year. Then, during the year, you look for good deals on the items you had in your budget and you buy them instead of the more expensive ones. You end up, through good management practices, getting the same job done for 45 grand. Now you put 5 grand in the bank after you give yourself a hundred dollar bonus.

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  33. Community Member Idea Submitter

    This is funny. The poster for idea 6951 is getting people to vote against this idea, #3, to propmote his/her suggestion. lol-it really doesn't matter, this idea would never win but it has to be addressed. I think that poster would take a kangaroo to a frog jumping contest. His/her employment should be in question though. :)

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  34. Community Member Idea Submitter

    This is the day after closing and this post is losing a vote every couple minutes. They will have to find a way to identify the people that sabotage efforts such as this for future endeavors. Fire their butts so they can try and find a way to sneak to the front of the unemployment line. :)

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
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  35. Community Member Idea Submitter

    search idea no. 15654 and vote to STOP the capability of negative voting and keep people from "cheating".

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  36. Community Member Idea Submitter

    this idea was ranked no. 2 at contest closing and, due to manipulating this contest, has dropped to no. 4 already. Admin needs to stop this stuff and find out who is turning this into a sham

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  37. Community Member Idea Submitter

    now it's no. 10

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
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  38. Community Member Idea Submitter

    lol........you come across people like this playing online video games. They download cheats to use in the game to win. This must be one of those bedwetters. :))

    4 years ago
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  39. Community Member Idea Submitter

    This suggestion had at least 130 votes stripped off it. Amazing people can get away with it. Of course, maybe they didn't. I saw where one idea has diappeard. :))

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  40. Community Member Idea Submitter

    I will be upset if the winner gets beer at the White House though. :))

    4 years ago
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  41. sys admin contacted me today, I specifically point out what happened to both our idea counts, he's looking into it and monitoring whatever that means. Just contacted me a few minutes ago.

    4 years ago
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    0 Disagreed
  42. Community Member Idea Submitter

    I'm sure this idea would never win anyway but the problem needed pointing out. The government isn't ready for that much change no matter what the platform is. It's just a shame an effort such as this can be turned into a sham. Maybe they can find the nutball and get rid of him/her/them. I'm sure that would save a little money cause they can't be very productive people to begin with.

    4 years ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed

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