Plan Envisions Better Service, Slimmer Management for U.S

Article excerpt

An early draft of Vice President Al Gore's plan "to reinvent government" would turn air traffic control and debt collection over to the private sector.

The draft also would put the brakes on micro-management of the bureaucracy and eliminate thousands of federal managers.

The draft, obtained by Knight-Ridder Newspapers, includes promises that the Postal Service will deliver local first-class mail overnight and that the Internal Revenue Service will pay tax refunds within 21 days.

Reinventing government, as the overall plan is known, would get rid of thousands of pages of personnel and procurement rules and would cut back an army of auditors, budget examiners and inspectors that costs $35 billion a year, according to the draft.

Too much oversight has made most bureaucrats "afraid to deviate even slightly from standard operating procedure," the draft says.

And there would be a reduction in the federal manager-to-worker ratio from 1-to-7 to 1-to-15 within five years through attrition, early retirements and buyouts.

Marla Romash, Gore's communications director, was quoted in Friday's Miami Herald as saying that the version Knight-Ridder got was an early draft that has been changed. She would not say how it was changed. She said the current draft has more than 150 pages, compared with the 109-page draft Knight-Ridder has.

The draft proposes hiring private collection agencies to recover $241 billion in back taxes and other debts owed to the federal government.

The draft also urges allowing airlines to build and operate a new private air-traffic control system. …