The Governor's Commission on Government Reform & Restructuring presented its Interim Report to Governor Bob McDonnell today for his review. The report includes 107 proposals including the privatization of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, initiating a 4 day-10 hour work week for many state employees, improving inventory practices for all state real property assets, and changing the budget cycle so that a future Governor adopts their first biennial budget in the first year of office and second budget in their third year of office. The Commission was established by Executive Order #2, which was signed by the Governor immediately after taking the oath of office on January 16, 2010.
Speaking about the Interim Report, Governor McDonnell commented, "The Commission, under leadership of Chairman Fred Malek, and Vice Chairmen Speaker William J. Howell and former Senator Benjamin Lambert, has done excellent work over the last four months. The findings and recommendations reflect a detailed review of current systems and processes in select areas of state government. I look forward to reviewing the Commission's recommendations in greater detail over the coming weeks to determine which ones will be advocated for administrative implementation or legislative action. Taxpayers should be pleased that Virginia state government is enthusiastically continuing to innovate, save money, be smarter and more transparent."
Chairman Fred Malek said, "We have listened to Virginia citizens and state employees who sent more than 1,700 comments and ideas for consideration. The Commission's dedicated members have spent significant time reviewing the operations of state government and are proposing more than 107 recommendations. Our work is far from complete. At your request, the Commission on Government Reform & Restructuring will continue its work for the remainder of the administration. The way forward is to reduce and consolidate programs that are ineffective or duplicative and restructure state government to more efficiently deliver core services to Virginians."
"The ability and willingness to change, adapt, innovate and improve not only are the ongoing charges of this Commission, but have been realized in the Interim Report's more than 100 new ideas and policy recommendations," said Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell, Co-Vice Chairman of the Governor's Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring. "Now it is time to begin working to implement and enact many of these positive changes to help transform Virginia state government. I commend Governor McDonnell for his leadership and, like all Virginia taxpayers, look forward to the benefits of improving the delivery of government services, maximizing the return on taxpayer investments, and minimizing the costs of state government wherever possible."
The Interim Report can be viewed here: http://www.reform.virginia.gov/docs/InterimReport/GovtRefRestruct-InterimReport.pdf
The following recommendations are among the list that have been endorsed by the full Commission after consideration and approval by the committees.
* Privatization of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Distribution and Retail System- privatizing ABC in Virginia will invest over half a billion dollars into transportation by eliminating a 76-year old state monopoly. For more details on this proposal please visit: http://www.governor.virginia.gov/News/viewRelease.cfm?id=407
* Four Day, 10-hour Work Week for Government Employees- Expanding this schedule beyond the existing pilot program at the Virginia Department of Forestry. The Commonwealth could save considerable amounts of money on overtime, energy costs and increased productivity by implementing this initiative in certain state agencies.
* Promote Expanded Use of Telework and Alternate Work Schedules for Government Employees- Similar in nature to the four day, 10-hour work week, this proposal allows additional flexibility for government employees to work on a flexible schedule or from locations other than the office. Currently 48% of state positions are eligible for alternate work schedules.
* Single Reporting Requirement- Enable state agencies to submit one consolidated report to the Secretary, General Assembly, and Governor annually, rather than several reports throughout the year. This change would lead to greater efficiencies by reducing the amount of staff time expended in preparing the various reports throughout the year.
* Enhance Virginia's "Business One-Stop" Practices-Significantly enhance the "Virginia Business One-Stop" website into a "First and Only Stop" by increasing the information, resources, and assistance available to Virginia entrepreneurs to ensure that truly only one stop is necessary to get a new business up and running with minimal delay.
* Process for Consolidation and Elimination of Virginia Boards and Commissions- The Governor's Commission adopted a process to propose the elimination of boards, commissions, and other non-government entities that perform the same services. Over the coming weeks and months, the Commission will recommend the consolidation or elimination of a significant number of boards and commissions.
* Consolidation of Inspectors General- The separate Inspectors General and the Division of the State Internal Auditor (in the Virginia Department of Accounts) should be consolidated into one statewide Office of the Inspector General that would report directly to the Governor's Chief of Staff, with corollary reporting requirements to the appropriate cabinet secretaries. This will enhance authority to proactively pursue complaints concerning fraud, waste, and abuse in state government so Virginia can better monitor agency performance.
* Reduce or Eliminate Toll Free Numbers- Due to the widespread use of cell phones, the Commission recommends that agencies should reduce or eliminate toll-free numbers, consistent with the Commission's recommendation to move towards a single portal entry for Virginia state agencies. One agency eliminated 16 toll free numbers for an annual savings of approximately $600,000.
* Government Customer Service Centers- The Governor should initiate a strategy to create government customer service centers. These customer service centers are to be "one-stop shops" where the citizen can access services provided by the Commonwealth (such as information on one-stop business creation, local tourist attractions, professional licensing applications, kiosks to pay state taxes or fees, registration forms to license as boat and trailer or hunting and fishing licenses). The Commission found that an ideal place to start would be at the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle locations.
* Budget Transparency & Cycle- Change the budget cycle so that the incoming Governor adopts his/her first budget in the first year in office and second budget in the third year in office. Improve coordinated publishing of information related to the state budget by legislative and executive branch entities to ensure taxpayers know how their money is spent.