The news media have recently carried accounts of a new bill, introduced in the house by Rep. Chuck Fleischmann and in the Senate by Sen. Rand Paul. The bill is known as the “EASY Savings Act,” and it provides incentives of 1% of the agency’s cost savings, up to $10,000, to employees who report ways to save money. However, the law already exists:
5 USC Chapter 45, Subchapter II – AWARDS FOR COST SAVINGS DISCLOSURES
(a) The Inspector General of an agency, or any other agency employee designated under subsection (b), may pay a cash award to any employee of such agency whose disclosure of fraud, waste, or mismanagement to the Inspector General of the agency, or to such other designated agency employee, has resulted in cost savings for the agency. The amount of an award under this section may not exceed the lesser of—
(1) $10,000; or
(2 ) an amount equal to 1 percent of the agency’s cost savings which the Inspector General, or other employee designated under subsection (b), determines to be the total savings attributable to the employee’s disclosure.
For purposes of paragraph (2), the Inspector General or other designated employee may take into account agency cost savings projected for subsequent fiscal years which will be attributable to such disclosure.
(b) In the case of an agency for which there is no Inspector General, the head of the agency shall designate an agency employee who shall have the authority to make the determinations and grant the awards permitted under this section.
The President may pay a cash award in the amount of $20,000 to any employee whose disclosure of fraud, waste, or mismanagement has resulted in substantial cost savings for the Government. In evaluating the significance of a cost savings disclosure made by an employee for purposes of determining whether to make an award to such employee under this section, the President may take into account cost savings projected for subsequent fiscal years which will be attributable to the disclosure. During any fiscal year, the President may not make more than 50 awards under this section.
Note the existing law doubles the maximum award, to $20,000, if the President approves. Also, the above law considers disclosures under the heading of “fraud, waste, and mismanagement.” It may well be that an idea is not directly concerned with fraud or waste, per se, but if it is truly a sound proposal, then the issue can – in my opinion – be appropriately considered mismanagement.
So, if you have an idea, write it up and send it in. Tip: it is not enough to have a good idea. You need to explain it with great clarity, so readers will have difficulty misunderstanding. You also need to anticipate, and rebut, any objections. Presentation is everything. Good luck!