Bell Atlantic and Federal Employees Receive Hammer Award for Making Government Blue Pages More User Friendly
--James Earl Jones, Bell Atlantic Spokesperson,
Participates in GSA Ceremony--
May 28, 1997
WASHINGTON -- A team of 23 employees of Bell Atlantic and two employees
each from the Baltimore Federal Executive Board and the U.S. Veterans
Administration received Vice President Al Gore's Hammer Award for
helping make government work better. The group was honored today for
their work on redesigning government listings in the Blue Pages of
Bell Atlantic's local telephone directories.
"The Blue Pages have become user friendly," said Vice President Gore
in a letter to the team. "The Blue Pages are easier to use because
they are based on common sense not government bureaucracy. This is
good news for the millions of Americans each year who need information
about their federal government, and a good example of how the public
and private sectors can work together to make positive changes."
David J. Barram, administrator of the General Services Administration
(GSA), presented the award on behalf of Vice President Gore and the
National Performance Review (NPR) in a ceremony at the GSA Auditorium.
The award is a $6 hammer in a frame, representing efficiency in
government. James Earl Jones, Bell Atlantic spokesperson, presented
recipients directory covers of the redesigned Blue Pages for Baltimore
and Washington, D.C., which were autographed by Gore and Jones.
The Blue Pages Project is sponsored by the Vice President's National
Performance Review and coordinated by GSA. It is a collaborative
effort of Bell Atlantic, other directory publishers, and 24 Federal
agencies to make it easier to find Federal services in over 6,200
telephone directories nationwide.
Accepting the Hammer Award for Bell Atlantic were Barbara Connor,
president, Bell Atlantic Federal Systems, and Patrick Cantwell, vice
president, marketing and strategic planning, Bell Atlantic Directory
"Consumers using the new Blue Pages are benefiting from the
partnership between government agencies and directory publishers such
as Bell Atlantic," said Connor. "We will continue to work together to
produce enhanced and simplified government listings and information in
Bell Atlantic's directories," Cantwell added.
Richard H. Howell, executive director, Baltimore Federal Executive
Board, (FEB) accepted the Hammer Award for the FEB and Baltimore-based
U.S. Veterans Administration Medical Health Care System.
Gore has referred to telephone directory 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, federal services have been difficult to
find. 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 noted. "They are often the first
contact someone has with the government. So simplifying the Blue
Pages also provides a great service to taxpayers."
Bell Atlantic is the leading provider of local telecommunications
services in the Mid-Atlantic region. It is collaborating with GSA on
redesigning the Blue Pages of all its directories. The design
improvements were introduced in the Baltimore directories late last
year and are in the recently distributed Washington, D.C.,
directories. The new design will be included in the 1997 directories
for Richmond, Va., East Montgomery, Penn., Jersey City, N.J., and
Maryland Suburban (Montgomery and Prince George's counties).
The Hammer Award is given to participants in a team effort that
contributes dramatically to improving the way government works. About
800 Hammer Awards have been awarded since the program began in 1994,
many to public/private teams. The award was designed to be a reminder
of the government's past practice that, among other things, led it to
pay $400 for a hammer. The award consists of a $6 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.