Friday, June 26, 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Reinvent Government or Same Old Same Old?

Early in the 2009 legislative session I was excited to be appointed to a new commission created to identify potential improvements and efficiencies of our state government operations. I felt my experience with this process in local government could lend a unique perspective to the Commission on Enhancing Agency Outcomes (guvspeak acronym is CEAO). Now if we could just convince the Democratic majority leadership to seriously consider reinventing Connecticut state government’s operations we might actually reduce spending!

Public Act 09-02 spells out the charge of the commission:

“The Commission on Enhancing Agency Outcomes shall identify functional overlaps and other redundancies among state agencies and promote efficiency and accountability in state government by identifying ways to eliminate such overlaps and redundancies and by making such other recommendations as the commission deems appropriate, with the goal to reducing costs to the state and enhancing the quality and accessibility of state services.”

The CEAO membership is a diverse group with wide experience in government and business. Some members have participated in past government efficiency study efforts only to see the results of their work largely ignored.

I co-hosted a CEAO public hearing in Danbury where residents and business leaders shared testimony of common sense approaches to government efficiency – think like a business. What a novel idea!

I offered specific agency merger ideas for discussion by the commission but we have not met since April 24th for only our second meeting. Surely the co-chairs are anxious to offer sensible ideas for solving our budget crisis but it seems apparent the Democratic majority leadership is ignoring CEAO.

Budget rhetoric is abundant these days as the Democratic majority leadership drags their feet on the difficult decisions of this fiscal crisis. The major disappointment is we’re squandering an opportunity to truly reinvent Connecticut state government. Unfortunately, the Democrats in Hartford are focused on preserving powerful special interests and expanding rather than reducing state government.