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Sprint Publishing & Advertising EmployeesReceive Vice President Gore's Hammer Award

GSA # 9433
August 18, 1997
Bill Bearden (202) 501-1231
bill.bearden@gsa.gov


FAYETTEVILLE, NC -- A team of Sprint Publishing & Advertising employees received Vice President Al Gore's Hammer Award here today for redesigning and simplifying the Federal government Blue Pages in Sprint's local telephone directories. Eventually these revised Blue Pages will be published in Sprint Yellow Pages' telephone directories in its top 50 U.S. markets covering 18 states. Fayetteville is the first Sprint directory to contain the redesigned, more user-friendly pages.

David Barram, administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) presented the award on behalf of Vice President Gore and the National Performance Review in a ceremony at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, N.C. The Hammer Award is given to teams who have contributed to improving the way government works.

"Your team at Sprint not only took on the mission of fixing the problem," said Vice President Gore in a letter to the team, ''you went the extra mile by agreeing to publish these new listings at no cost to the Federal government in 50 markets across the country." The Vice President added that no cost to the Federal government "translates to savings for the taxpayer."

In accepting the award for the Sprint team, Bob Walsh, president of Sprint Publishing & Advertising, said "The new Blue Pages symbolize our commitment to serving the needs of the public and our role in improving government efficiency.'' Walsh said that in the past, directory users have struggled to find appropriate government offices. "The new Blue Pages," he said, "list most government services by topic and provide Internet website addresses."

The Blue Pages Project is sponsored by the Vice President's National Performance Review and coordinated by GSA. It is a collaborative effort of Sprint, other directory publishers, and 24 Federal agencies to make it easier to find Federal services in more than 6,200 telephone directories nationwide.

Gore has referred to the Blue Pages as "the low-tech puzzle that must be solved before reaching the high-tech government." Since government telephone numbers have traditionally been listed by organization�not by service, as in the Yellow Pages�Federal services have not been very accessible. For example, the U.S. Passport Agency, which used to be listed only under "s" for "State Department," is listed in the new Blue Pages under "p" for "passport."

Surveys show that half the users of the original Blue Pages give up before they get the information they need because they cannot locate the number for a particular office.

"The Blue Pages are used 81 million times a year," Barram said. "They often are the first contact someone has with the government. Simplifying Blue Pages provides a great service to taxpayers. Sprint's accomplishment is proof that government-private sector partnerships can create a government that works better and costs less."

Recent feedback from citizens in various cities where Blue Pages have been revised show that they are very pleased with the icons, color and graphics that make the Blue Pages much easier to read and use. They liked the inclusion of internet addresses, cross references, narrative descriptions of products and services of the Federal government, and the use of bigger type fonts.

After using the new blue pages, some said that they were "shocked" to learn how many products and services are available from the Federal government -- that they pay taxes for -- but didn't know about. Items such as the services of the Small Business Administration, alcohol treatment referrals, consumer hotlines, housing information, plant health information, pension benefits, immunization and childhood diseases, Medicare, aging and eldercare, are but a few examples.

Other Sprint Yellow Page directories that will feature the Blue Pages include Greenville, N.C., Jacksonville, N.C., Rocky Mount, N.C., Beaufort, S.C., Naples, FL, Punta Gorda, FL, and Tri-Cities/Johnson City, TN directories among others.

Sprint Publishing & Advertising Inc. is the official publisher of the Sprint Yellow Pages. Sprint Publishing, the nation's 10th largest Yellow Pages publisher, is a subsidiary of Sprint, a global communications company and the world's largest carrier of Internet traffic.

The Hammer Award recognizes special achievements in the four main themes of reinventing government: improving customer service, cutting red tape, empowering employees and getting back to basics.

The award is the Vice President's way to symbolize the dramatic change taking place across government today from the days when it was alleged that the government paid $400 for a hammer. It consists of a $6.00 hammer, a ribbon and a note from the Vice President, all in an aluminum frame. Individual team members receive certificates and hammer-shaped lapel pins.

When the project is complete, citizens across the nation are going to be more in touch with their Federal government as a result of Vice President Gore's Blue Pages Project, which goes hand-in-hand with government reinvention.


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CONTACTS FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

� Sprint: Launi Smith (913) 491-7231 or lsmith@unicom.net

� National Performance Review: Michael Russell (202) 632-0190 or michael.russell@npr.gsa.gov

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General Services Administration * Federal Blue Pages Project * Washington, DC 20405