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Vice President Gore Honors The Ameritech--GSA Blue Pages Telephone Book Reinvention Team

GSA # 9370

December 19, 1996
Contact: Kelly Paisley, NPR (202) 632-0399
Bill Bearden, GSA (202) 501-1231
Internet: bill.bearden@gsa.gov

The Clinton Administration's reinventing government initiative, the National Performance Review, will present a Hammer Award to the Ameritech Corporation for helping citizens in the Indianapolis and Chicago area more easily find federal government services listed in the blue pages section of telephone books.

The goal of the three-year project is to make listings for federal agencies in local telephone books -- called "blue pages" -- more user-friendly. As a result of the significant accomplishments Ameritech has achieved to date that have changed the look, touch, and feel of the federal listings, the NPR, on behalf of Vice President Al Gore, will present Ameritech the Hammer Award on Wednesday, December 18, at 11:45 a.m., at Ameritech, 240 North Meridian (corner of New York and North Meridian), in the 17th floor auditorium. (For directions, please call Lee Ann Hoy at Ameritech on 317-265-2766).

In October 1995, Vice President Gore requested help with this important NPR initiative to ensure that it would seize "the opportunity to improve customer services by improving the way Government services are listed in telephone directories." This is being accomplished through a partnership between the U.S. General Services Administration and Ameritech.

"I commend the GSA-Ameritech blue pages team for their partnership and for their common sense approach to improving customer service," Vice President Gore said. "The results of their hard work--the production of an understandable directory of federal services--is an important part of our giving the American people a government that works better."

Citizens use the blue pages 81 million times a year looking for government information. Often, these listings are the first point of contact a citizen has with the government. Research indicates that 25 percent of the citizens give up since they cannot locate a particular office. Currently, there are 6,200 telephone directories in the United States.

According to David Barram, acting GSA Administrator, "As a result of this partnership of Ameritech and GSA, federal agencies in Chicago and Indianapolis are well underway with their continuing improvements to the federal government telephone listings which will eventually provide more functionally descriptive and useful information desired by the citizens -- Ameritech's customers."

"Ameritech has taken the leadership role with regards to dramatic and innovative approaches to reengineering both the process and actual content of the Federal Blue Pages," Barram said. "They are the first telephone company to include government e-mail and website addresses in the blue pages."

In Indianapolis, the federal government listings have increased by 50 percent. In Chicago, federal government blue pages were created for six suburbs in addition to the main telephone book. Ameritech wants the listings to be more customer focused and therefore has included Internet addresses, WEB sites, hours of operation, 800 numbers in both Indianapolis and Chicago. Ameritech says that in addition to the functional/service oriented listings, future blue pages will include graphics and different colors and fonts for ease of reading.

Ameritech and GSA are well on their way of attaining the Vice President's goal of identifying "a customer-friendly approach to Government listings which will become as familiar, convenient, and consistent as the yellow pages."

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Background on Vice President Gore's Hammer Award

The Hammer Award is a special recognition from Vice President Al Gore to teams who have made significant contributions in support of the National Performance Review principals of putting customers first, cutting red tape, empowering employees and getting back to basics. The Hammer Award is Vice President Gore's answer to the classic $600.00 Pentagon hammer. The Hammer Award consists of a $6.00 hammer, a little ribbon, an aluminum frame, and a notecard from Gore. This award recognizes new standards of excellence achieved by teams helping to reinvent government. Over 800 Hammer Awards have been presented to teams comprised of federal employees, state and local employees, and citizens who are working to build a better government by putting customers first, cutting red tape and empowering front line workers.