When the last copy of "Sprocketman," a comic-book parody of Spiderman, is handed out by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the guide to bicycle safety will pass into history.
Along with it will go the Department of Energy's electric car handbook, "The Electric Adventure," the Small Business Administration's "Selecting Advertising Media: A Guide for Small Business" and the newsletter of the Jewish chapel at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss. (monthly press run, 250 copies; savings, $1,566).
These publications, and more than 900 others identified by a survey of agency and Office of Management and Budget officials, have become the victims of budget cuts and program managers responding to an OMB order that they eliminate "unnecessary federal spending on the development, printing and distribution of periodicals and recurring pamphlets."
The list is made up mostly of consumer publications and program guides, but it also includes federal employe newsletters, calendars, posters, historical guides, nature pamphlets and statistical brochures.
President Reagan ordered a moratorium April 20 on new periodicals, pamphlets and audio-visual products, and OMB followed that with a call for cutting wasteful spending on publications.
By next Sunday, all agencies are supposed to have sent OMB their plans for a control process to guide the development of new publications and audio-visual materials. The agencies' reports are supposed to give the name, frequency, average number of copies, costs and associated users' fees for every publication. That information has not been compiled before because it traditionally has been cloaked in sub-agency spending figures, according to OMB officials.
Many publications officials, not surprisingly, are bitter about the OMB order; some are quick to snipe at its paperwork demands. One Interior Department aide complained that the cuts "are fostering a lot of ill will between program officials who don't want to lose this prerogative to decide which publications are necessary and the OMB. And we're caught in the middle."
OMB public affairs aide Robin Raborn says it's all for a "good cause," because "there are just so many useless and unnecessary publications floating around."
OMB said that the government will spend a projected $302.2 million in fiscal 1982 on publications and films, down from the estimated fiscal 1981 total of $336.7 million.