NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Last year, their boss issued a challenge: Give me your best ideas to save money.
Their boss is President Obama, and he has opened the final round of voting on his "SAVE Award" for federal employees. Designed to streamline government by eliminating waste, four finalists are now vying for a chance to meet the president and see their idea implemented.
Last year's winning idea resulted in a pilot program aimed at cutting down wasted medication within the Veterans Administration. At least 20 of last year's submissions ended up in the fiscal 2011 budget, according to an Office of Management and Budget official.
No matter how savvy the ideas, they represent mere drops in a rather large bucket. Cutting the deficit is no easy task for a nation that racked up a $1.29 trillion deficit in fiscal year 2010. An estimate on how the program's total savings wasn't immediately available.
Here are the 2010 finalists:
Paul Behe, a paralegal specialist for the Department of Homeland Security in Cleveland, wants the government to use the Internet to notify the public about property it has seized. Right now, it's done through newspaper advertising.
If Behe's idea wins, newspapers will suffer. The other three finalists want to put a dent into the beleaguered U.S. Postal Service.
Food inspector Marjorie Cook of Michigan wants express shipping for food containers to be a one-way ticket. There's no need to continue the current policy of express shipping the empty boxes back.
Trudy Givens of Wisconsin, a Bureau of Prisons employee, believes the government should stop the daily mailing of the Federal Register to 10,000 recipients. It's already available online.
And Thomas Koenning of Colorado, who works on mine safety, would like to have mine operators and contractors report coal production and worker hours online, instead of via old fashioned mail.
You can vote for your favorite idea at the White House website.
Americans are transforming how they eat -- paying more attention to the origins of their food and how it's made. And Kimbal Musk is at the forefront of a movement that is accelerating the rate of change. More
The Labor Department releases its August jobs report on Friday, and it will have big implications for the Federal Reserve. More
The Samsung Gear S2 is a smartwatch that will make both gadget lovers and watch lovers happy. More
The BauBax travel jacket, with 15 built-in features, needed $20,000 on Kickstarter, but got $9 million. More
Pimco's famous fund once managed by star manager Bill Gross has less than $100 billion in management for the first time since 2007. More