[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[April 21, 1998]
[Page 597]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Memorandum on Streamlining the Granting of Waivers
April 21, 1998

Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies

Subject: Streamlining the Granting of Waivers

    Five years ago, the Vice President 
asked you to create reinvention laboratories in your departments and 
agencies and to streamline the granting of waivers of internal agency 
rules within them so the laboratories could more effectively promote 
innovation. These waivers--delegations of authority to deviate from 
existing internal agency policies and procedures--are often sought by 
front-line employees who are trying to make their operations work 
better, cost less, and get results that Americans care about. The Vice 
President and I emphasized such measures in the Blair House Papers last 
year, when we encouraged you to delegate more power to front-line 
employees to unlock the enormous potential of the Federal workforce.
    Your departments and agencies have responded, and Federal employees 
have used waivers to facilitate innovation and provide excellent 
customer service. For example, the Coast Guard marine safety programs 
have increased managerial flexibility for field commanders to waive 
unnecessary requirements that had previously accounted for over one-half 
million work hours annually. The Department of Agriculture's Animal 
Plant Health Inspection Service's Tort Claims Adjudication Team used a 
waiver to reduce the processing time for tort claims of less than $2,500 
from 51 days to 8.
    Based on these experiences, I am directing you, where you determine 
that it is appropriate, to adopt some of the best practices developed by 
agencies. These best practices include the following characteristics:
    1. Waiver requests are acted upon within 30 days or less. After 30 
days, the originating entity within the agency can assume approval and 
implement the requested waiver.
    2. Those officials having authority to grant or change internal 
agency rules can approve waiver requests, but only the head of an agency 
can deny a waiver request.
    3. Officials who have the authority to grant waivers are encouraged 
to identify potential waiver opportunities and extend waivers to their 
own agencies.
    The Vice President's team at the National Partnership for 
Reinventing Government (NPR) is ready to assist you in developing a 
waiver process based upon lessons learned and best practices from 
agencies that have experience with waivers. Some of you already have 
this type of waiver process in place for reinvention laboratories. I 
direct you to take every opportunity to extend this process throughout 
your agency.
    You should report to the Vice President on actions taken to 
implement this memorandum by July 1, 1998.
    This memorandum does not apply to waiver requests by grant program 
recipients nor does it apply to the granting of waivers to statutory 
requirements or practices required by law. It applies to those internal 
agency rules not codified in the Code of Federal Regulations.

                                                      William J. Clinton