Rank-and-file feds often source of cost-savings ideas

Steve Kelman, professor of public management, Harvard University

wfedstaff | June 4, 2015 5:33 pm

You can take the budget deficit into your own hands. There are plenty of ways to save the government money, and great ideas are just about anywhere.

Steve Kelman, a professor of public management at Harvard University, joined In Depth with Francis Rose to discuss a simple new cost-saving idea.

Kelman, who writes a column for Federal Computer Week, said a reader provided this idea: When federal employees travel, if they’re able to find a better deal on a hotel than what the per diem rate allows for, they should be able to keep half the difference between the negotiated rate and the rate the employee pays.

Online Chat: DJ Kachman, the Veterans Affairs Department’s director of mobile and security technology transformation lead, on April 10, at 1 p.m.

In his column, Kelman said he liked this idea and others like for a number of reasons:


First, while this proposal would make only the smallest of impacts on the deficit, the cost to the government of getting these savings is zero — it’s pure deficit reduction. Second, I like the idea of putting this cost-saving activity in the hands of employees, because once they start helping save money, it gets them in the spirit to make other efforts as well.