Remarks at the Presentation Ceremony for the Presidential Distinguished Executive Awards

December 12, 1985

Thank you all very much. Who's tending the store? [Laughter] Connie Horner and ladies and gentlemen, good morning, and welcome to the White House. We've assembled today to -- if some of you think that's strange, I always have to explain that. I had to have it explained to me -- that they technically call this the White House. I know we're across the street. [Laughter] But we're assembled here today to honor the best of our Senior Executive Service, those of you whom it is my privilege to bestow distinguished Presidential Rank7E7E Awards.

You know, any administration, even one that lasts 8 years, is keenly aware of the ticking of the clock and the calendar pages flipping by as it strives to achieve what it set out to accomplish. Each President, each administration, is a rendezvous with Father Time. Father Time -- I did -- I went to school with him; he was a classmate. [Laughter] But the clock is ticking, and even as our administration has called for government to play a more limited role in American life, we've worked hard to see that government performs its legitimate functions with greater diligence and efficiency. It's men and women like you who have made this vital effort successful. At Treasury and Justice, in the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, at Agriculture, NASA, and so many others, you've become shining examples of individuals who have delivered on the promises of the Government to the American people.

Now, time won't permit me to discuss each of your achievements, but I do want to mention just, at least, a few. One of you has fought crime by developing a program to help cut drug smuggling in Miami; another helped put Americans on the Moon and is now working to make NASA's space station a reality. Several of you've made advances of critical importance to our national defense. And at this time of battles to bring deficit spending under control, I have to point out that several of you've saved our taxpayers major sums: one, a financial officer at the Agency for International Development, saved the Government more than $4\1/2\ million. An award winner at Treasury is credited with saving taxpayers $12 million. And an award winner in the Navy pioneered changes that, it's estimated, will save some $300 million. And you know, even in Washington $300 million is real money. [Laughter]

Even more important than these specific savings and advances -- each of you has provided an example, an inspiration to others in the civil service, to work hard and to be more conscientious of the great trust that is shared by all in public service. Through your personal achievement, you, whom we honor today, have improved the lives of millions of your fellow citizens throughout our nation. And these awards represent the appreciation that each of us feels for you having accomplished so much for so many.

On behalf of all Americans, permit me to offer my heartfelt congratulations on a job well done. Thank you all, and God bless you. And now, Connie, if you'll get up here and do your chore, I'll step over here and do mine.

Note: The President spoke at 11:30 a.m. in Room 450 of the Old Executive Office Building. Constance Horner, Director of the Office of Personnel Management, read the names of the recipients. The 1985 award recipients were: Valdus V. Adamkus, Richard C. Armstrong, Robert N. Battard, Curtis W. Christensen, James E. Colvard, Guy H. Cunningham III, Angelo J. DiMascio, Anthony R. DiTrapani, Robert I. Dodge III, Barry Felrice, Kenneth M. Fogash, Robert M. Forssell, Gerald D. Griffin, Arthur H. Guenther, Richard L. Haver, David A. Israel, Samuel W. Keller, John C. Keeney, Ruth L. Kirschstein, Michael G. Kozak, Jack W. McGraw, James C. McKinney, Alexia L. Morrison, James W. Morrison, Jr., William Y. Nishimura, R. Max Peterson, Stanley M. Silverman, John A. Simpson, Andrew J. Stofan, Naomi R. Sweeney, Margery Waxman, and Larry G. Westfall.