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Gov. Ritter Announces Sweeping Services of Efficiencies as Part of Government Reform

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GOV. RITTER ANNOUNCES SWEEPING SERIES OF EFFICIENCIES AS PART OF GOVERNMENT REFORM

Gov. Bill Ritter today announced a sweeping series of government efficiencies that will save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, enact common-sense ideas from employees and recover funds owed to the state.

The dozens of reforms outlined by Gov. Ritter and his Government Efficiency and Management (GEM) Performance Review Team will benefit the state by an estimated $145 million over the next five years. Highlights include saving $47 million through a high-tech Medicaid-fraud reduction program, reducing the state's vehicle fleet and improving out-of-state collections.

"Less than a year ago, when I was sworn into office, I vowed we would do things differently by finding more effective and modern ways of running state government," Gov. Ritter said. "Growing up, I learned the value of a dollar. My goal as governor is to ensure we get the highest value for every taxpayer dollar while delivering the most efficient services possible. Here in Colorado, every taxpayer dollar is precious, and we don't have a single dollar to spare.

"My administration began addressing efficiencies immediately by asking department heads to craft strategic plans that for the first time emphasize measurable performance outcomes. We asked employees for their ideas - and were gratified when we received 12,000 survey responses. We commissioned a top-to-bottom audit of state government and created a 20-member GEM Team, with representatives from every department, to guide the process.

"We are still in the midst of that review, but already we are making government smarter, more efficient and more accountable, and we are ensuring the services we provide to the public are of measurable value," Gov. Ritter added. "These reforms will better serve the people of Colorado, better utilize the skills and ideas of our state employees, and better deploy 21st century technologies."

Since taking office in January, the Governor's initiatives have led to changes that will save taxpayers millions of dollars by addressing the state's high prison recidivism rate, closing a management office, launching a massive consolidation of the state's splintered Information Technology operations, and reviewing failed and underperforming computer systems.

State government is becoming more transparent through the creation of the first State Taxpayer Accountability Report and the postings of departmental budgets online. It also is becoming more modern, in part by expanding Internet-based services to constituents such as online vehicle registration renewal and one-stop shopping for new businesses.

The Government Efficiency and Management Performance Review, while only at its mid-point, already has yielded dozens of efficiency recommendations from both the GEM Team and the private firm that is helping to guide the process, Public Works LLC. Among them:

* Provide the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing¿s Program Integrity Section with high-tech tools to prevent, detect and deter Medicaid fraud: Estimated five-year savings: $47.4 million.
* Reduce the state¿s vehicle fleet: Estimated five-year savings: $2.2 million.
* Reduce vehicle maintenance costs by doing repairs in-house instead of out-sourcing: Estimated five-year savings: $3.3 million.
* Improve collections of tax revenues owed to the state by out-of-state corporations: Estimated five-year benefit: $37.8 million.

Many of the recommendations are simply common-sense suggestions that may not generate sizeable savings but will make for better government and more efficient service delivery. These include: *
Eliminate six- and seven-signature approval requirements for dozens of actions at the Department of Human Services.
* Reduce travel and meeting costs by utilizing video-conferencing.
* Utilize electronic signatures and computerized forms in place of typed and hand-written Parole Board documents.

"Government efficiency is not a one-time thing," Gov. Ritter said. "It's a way of thinking, of approaching how we do the people's business. Since January, we've been making government smarter, more efficient and more accountable. We still have a long way to go, but we are certainly off to a good start."

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