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Department of Energy

Paperless Executive Secretariat Process

The Executive Secretariat at the DOE is the office through which all formal correspondence with outside entities is screened for quality control prior to sending the response. However, their process is extremely flawed with its draconian rules which requires paper submission of ALL materials remotely related to such a formal correspondence.

 

For instance, if an outside entity has a question about an EPA rule, the formal response from an office may only be a page in length to that outside entity. However, ES requires that all material relating to this correspondence be printed and submitted to ES when they are reviewing the formal response. That means printing any communications with the outside party, any background material the office has on the issue, and most shocking, printing the ENTIRE rule, which can be over 1,000 pages in length. ES’s protocol mandates the waste of hundreds if not thousands of printed copies so that perhaps a one printed page formal response can get their approval and subsequently sent out to the outside entity.

 

Moreover, their process is entirely outdated, as handwritten revisions are made on the printed correspondences. If ES would make revisions on digital copies, not only would this save money on printing costs, but more importantly, it would save employees’ time from having to mundanely scour through pages of printed text to identify handwritten changes made by ES and retype them.

 

It is therefore suggested that ES change its protocols and require only print versions of a correspondence which directly responds to an outside party, and only after they have reviewed and potentially revised a digital copy of such a correspondence. All background material and complementing information not directly part of the formal response ought to be submitted electronically to ES. This simple change in the way a government office works would easily save money, reduce waste, and make an outdated process more efficient.

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Idea No. 13549