Essay: Tighter Beltway Bandits

Budgets are tight these days around government offices in Washington. On top of that, the public now scrutinizes every cent agencies spend, hoping to sniff out the next $16 muffin.

Accordingly, the average civil servant can expect to see a number of cost saving measures introduced at work in 2012. For those who missed the calendar invite to the conference call to plan for the meeting to discuss the memo to outline the implementation plan, here is an executive summary of the changes to come.

Printers now default to four pages per sheet, double-sided. For example, an eight-page document should fit on a single 8.5×11 piece of paper. Double spacing is discouraged. All print jobs require authorization at the GS-13 level or higher. To save ink, employees are encouraged to use 98% black instead of a full blank font.

Office Supplies
Pens and pencils are available on a one-for-one basis. To obtain a new writing implement, employees should fill out Form 435-E and forward the completed form, along with the nonfunctional implement, to mail stop 173. Staplers are no longer supported. This should not be an issue provided the rules for printing are adhered to.

The government has partnered with Megabus to obviate the need for air or rail travel along the Eastern Seaboard. Employees are encouraged to bring a neck pillow and ample reading material, provided they do not print it at work. Transit subsidies have been replaced with pamphlets touting the health benefits of biking. Employees with children are encouraged to sweet talk the school bus driver into dropping them off at work at the end of the route.

Food and Beverage
Cafeterias are no longer subsidized. They are, however, mandatory. Building doors lock automatically Monday to Friday between 12 and 1 p.m. Condiments and napkins are available for purchase at the register. Use of the break room refrigerators, until they are phased out by fiscal year 2013, requires authorization at the GS-13 level or higher on a per-sandwich basis.


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