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Federal Blue Pages Project Employees ReceiveVice President's Hammer Award

GSA # 9361

November 15, 1996
Contact: Bill Bearden
(202) 501-1231
Internet: bill.bearden@gsa.gov

Twenty-four federal agencies and 200 federal employees were recognized today at the U. S. General Services Administration when they received Vice President Gore's Hammer Award for their participation in the National Performance Review's Blue Pages Project.

The goal of the three-year project is to make listings for federal agencies in local phone directories -- called "blue pages" -- more user-friendly. As a result of the significant accomplishments achieved to date that have changed the look, touch, and feel of the federal listings in 10 cities, the NPR, on behalf of Vice President Gore, presented Hammer Awards to over 200 Federal Government employees and support contractors.

"Congratulations -- and thank you -- to the Blue Pages reinvention team. Your project is helping to dramatically improve the accessibility and efficiency of the blue pages. Simply put, our customers, the American taxpayers, want to be able to quickly and easily find phone numbers to government offices with which they need help. Your project is helping to do that, making the blue pages more user-friendly and responsive to the needs of its customers," said Vice President Gore, who heads the NPR to make the federal government work better and cost less.

In September 1996, the Vice President released the report The Best Kept Secrets In Government through the NPR to President Bill Clinton. Under "Number, Please" on page 35 the report states: "The low-tech puzzle that must be solved before reaching the high-tech government is the "blue pages."

Throughout this report, there are references to 800 numbers, websites, and Internet addresses, all of which must be provided to the citizens. Through the Blue Pages Project, the public will be made aware of this new way of doing business. This will educate them on the services available to them from the federal government.

According to the acknowledgments in the front of the Report, "the greatest debt of all is due the thousands of federal employees, state and local officials, private citizens, non-profit and other organizations who are changing how government works."

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% of the citizens give up since they cannot locate a particular office. U.S. Government estimates indicate that rerouting calls costs approximately $10. Currently, there are 6,200 telephone directories in the United States.

The Blue Pages Team of the Center for Electronic Messaging in the Office of Network Applications of the Federal Telecommunications Service of GSA, led a joint effort with a group of departmental and agency coordinators, various Federal Executive Boards (FEB) and Federal Executive Associations (FEA) and the Office of the National Performance Review, along with telephone companies across the country that have already completed various phases of the new Blue Pages listings in 10 cities which will be used by 18,546,000 households this year. One more city will be completed in the near future with more planned.

The people honored today represent the Washington DC Blue Pages Project Team, which includes the following:

The Blue Pages Management and Support Team. This Team meets monthly with the Federal Blue Pages Council which consists of various department and agency coordinators, motivating them to develop listings and templates that are used nationwide. The Blue Pages Team has briefed FEBs and FEAs, winning over their support to this project so that resources were provided to successfully complete several of the targeted directories. This team has also been the primary contact with the major telephone companies to develop partnership agreements to effect the necessary changes.


The Department and Agency Coordinators and their support staff. These coordinators who were appointed by senior officials of their particular department or agency, have been required to coordinate both in writing and verbally, with their field offices nationwide to effect the NPR requested Blue Pages improvements. Most have appointed additional staff to help with the project and to attend the required meetings. These Coordinators have defeated the "status-quo" attitude when it comes to reflecting services in a functional manner rather than publishing an "organizational chart."

Some telephone companies have changed existing processes and systems to facilitate the major changes to the blue pages. Ameritech has taken the lead in this regard. They will be publishing functionally oriented listings, in color with graphics including but not limited to, Internet addresses, websites and FAX numbers.

According to Dave Barram, acting GSA Administrator, "As a result of this partnership of Ameritech, GSA, and other federal agencies in Chicago and Indianapolis, we are well underway with continuing improvements to the federal government telephone listings. The end results will eventually be more functionally descriptive and useful information."


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