F e d e r a l    D e p o s i t o r y    L i b r a r y    P r o g r a m


[ Click Here For Information About the FDLP Desktop ] Home
About the FDLP
Depository Management
Electronic Collection
Locator Tools & Services
Processing Tools
Q & A
askLPS  ·  Calendar  ·  Contacts  ·  Library Directory  ·  Site Index  ·  Site Search


Newsletter of the Federal Depository Library Program

[ PDF version ]   [ Back Issues ]
Cumulative Table of Contents Vol. 1 - present [ PDF ] ( includes current issue )

June 15, 2003

GP 3.16/3-2:24/07
(Vol. 24, no. 07)

Bruce R. James
Public Printer

Opening Remarks
Before the
Subcommittee on Legislative Appropriations

Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Were very happy to be here today to present the GPOs budget request for FY 2004. I also want to compliment you and the Members of the Subcommittee on the excellent staff you have in Liz Dawson and Chuck Turner; we really look forward to working with them.

With me at the table are Bill Turri, Deputy Public Printer; Judy Russell, Superintendent of Documents; and Frank Partlow, Chief of Staff.

My prepared statement has been submitted for the record. I would like to make just a few brief remarks summarizing what we are doing at the GPO and how our appropriations request relates to our objectives.

Mr. Chairman, the GPO has a proud history, one built on a singular dedication to meeting the printing needs of the Federal Government and the information needs of the American people.

But GPOs middle name tends to obscure our true mission, which is keeping America informed by distributing the official information products of the Government. This is a mission that traces its origins to our Founding Fathers.

Just as the GPOs middle name gets in the way of understanding our true mission, the nature of what we do-printing-has been eclipsed by revolutionary changes in electronic information technologies, especially the Internet.

While printing will not disappear in our lifetime, its role in our lives-and in the lives of GPOs customers-has been forever changed.

We need to sort out what continues to belong in print and what best belongs in information retrieval systems. We need to allow the public to define their own information needs, then search against databases of information that we construct to retrieve only what they need, only when they need it.

Therein lies the challenge for GPO. Like every other manufacturing business in America, GPO must reinvent itself if it is to remain relevant and viable for the future. As Public Printer, I am leading this effort.

Our first step is to determine the facts regarding GPOs strengths and weaknesses and the problems and opportunities facing us. We are already doing this by participating in a GAO study of Federal printing and information policy ordered by Congress. When this study is concluded later this year we will have a factual basis on which to build a strategic plan.

Once the plan is developed, our next task will be to gain support from Congress, the Administration, our customers, the library and information communities, the printing industry and the labor unions, and from all those who have a stake in the future of Federal information policy.

Then we must carry out the plan to transform the GPO into an information service equipped and staffed to meet the information demands of the 21st century.

Since I took office in early December, weve begun several initiatives to transform our operations:

  • Weve implemented a new organizational model for the GPO that will be more responsive to the needs of our customers and employees.
  • Weve taken a number of actions to improve conditions for our employees:
    • Weve implemented the first new employee incentive program at GPO in over a decade.
    • Weve expanded our workforce development budget to ensure that no one is left behind as we transform our operations.
    • Were expanding the use of digital communications internally to provide employees with the information they need to do their jobs effectively.
    • Weve begun recruiting efforts at colleges and universities around the country to reverse the decades-long drain on GPOs talent.
    • At the same time, weve implemented a buy-out program for up to 300 employees who are eligible to retire. This will generate cost savings and create opportunities to transition our workforce to new technologies and business practices.
  • To tell everyone that were leaving the past behind, weve redesigned GPOs logo to create a new image for the 21st century.
  • Ive been meeting with Members of Congress, key congressional staff, Federal agency heads, the library and information communities, the printing industry, and others to win support for the GPO and increase our business.
  • Ive also been meeting with the top management of our suppliers-from printing companies to equipment manufacturers-to explore the opportunities for the GPO to assume a leadership position in technological innovation in the digital information era.
  • To deal with the printing issues raised last year by the Office of Management and Budget, Ive kept up a dialog with OMB officials about their concerns. But rather than blowing apart a system of printing set up generations ago, Ive asked OMB to walk forward with me to devise a new approach for Federal printing and information policy that fits the 21st century.
  • Ive challenged the library and government information communities to help us in developing a new depository library program model. More than 50% of the information coming into the program is now only in electronic form, never reaching ink-on-paper.
  • Last but not least, weve set up a contingency planning effort to prepare ourselves to protect our employees and carry out continuity-of-government operations in the event of an emergency. Were doing this in concert with similar planning efforts ongoing in the House and the Senate, in Federal agencies, and in the District of Columbia.

Mr. Chairman, the transformation of the GPO is well underway. In order to make it happen, however, the GPO needs funding not only to continue product and service provision, but to begin making the investments we know are needed now to position us for the future.

Our appropriations request for FY 2004 is targeted at these two objectives: maintenance of product and service quality, and investment in necessary technology improvements and critical workforce restructuring:

  • For the Congressional Printing and Binding Appropriation, we are requesting $91.1 million for FY 2004, an increase of just 1.7% over the funding that was approved for FY 2003. This amount will cover all estimated congressional printing requirements for FY 2004, as detailed in our budget submission.
  • For the Salaries and Expenses Appropriation of the Superintendent of Documents, we are requesting an increase of 3%, or $871,000, over the amount approved for FY 2003 to cover mandatory pay and benefits increases as well as price level changes.

To begin essential investment in GPOs future, we are requesting additional funds above the levels required for continuation of services. These funds, amounting to slightly less than 2% of GPOs total annual budget, represent a new point of departure for GPO.

  • Were asking for $4.1 million for the Salaries and Expenses Appropriation to replace obsolete technology used by the GPO Access system, now nearly a decade old. Congress and the public are increasingly dependent on this system, and we need to upgrade it provide the service they have come to expect.
  • Were also asking for $10 million for our Revolving Fund to fund the extraordinary expense of our buyout program. This amount is needed in order to avoid spending funds we have earmarked for essential technology improvements.

Along with our appropriations request we are seeking two technical legislative changes to Title 44, U.S.C:

  • A change in the pay levels for GPOs top executives will improve our ability to attract and retain leadership talent.
  • Another to give us the authority to accept contributions of equipment and services as well as transfer or donate surplus equipment to appropriate entities. We have briefed the Joint Committee on Printing on both these changes and have their support for them.

Were also requesting an increase for GPOs representation fund to help us promote the concept of changing the GPO. These changes will help us in transforming the GPO.

Mr. Chairman, GPOs appropriations request for FY 2004 represents a new departure for this agency in preparing for the future. GPO desperately needs to move forward aggressively to seize the opportunities that can be provided by marrying new technology with best practices found throughout the private sector. Our budget request will help us take those forward steps.

I thank you for your support and encouragement of change at the GPO, and I look forward to working with you and the Members of this Subcommittee in your consideration of our request.

This concludes my remarks, and I would be pleased to answer any questions you may have.