6 Ways State Employees are Helping Gov. Wolf Save PA Money

By: Sharon Ward, Director of the Governor’s Office of Transformation, Innovation, Management and Efficiency (GO-TIME)

August 11, 2016

State government doesn’t always operate as efficiently as it should, but Governor Wolf has set out to change that. Through GO-TIME, the Governor has challenged state agencies to transform the way they do business in order to serve the public better and more efficiently.

We are beginning to meet that challenge. The governor announced last week that the goal he set a year ago, to save $150 million, has been achieved.

Governor Wolf addresses the media in the Capitol Rotunda with executive staff and recognized state employees who helped find cost savings totaling over $156 million.

Governor Wolf addresses the media in the Capitol Rotunda with executive staff and recognized state employees who helped find cost savings totaling over $156 million.

Agency leaders and employees put their heads together to come up with more than 150 projects that save $156,222,567, and do so without sacrificing services to Pennsylvanians. The results are impressive:

  1. Through aggressive renegotiation of contracts and private sector tools, the Department of General Services was able to save more than $68 million for items like salt and snowplows, furniture and printer ink, janitorial and maintenance services. Contracts they negotiated this year will result in total savings of more than $300 million.
  2. The Department of Human Services cut the error rate in the SNAP program in half, saving more than $44 million dollars while taking steps to ensure that families and seniors don’t incorrectly lose benefits.
  3. PennDOT has given its construction inspectors tablets and mobile application to allow on-site data entry, keeping them in the field rather than in the office.
  4. The Commonwealth is transforming mail services, saving more than $1 million in postage and consolidating mail pickup and delivery.
  5. The Board of Probation and Parole and Department of Corrections are eliminating an inefficient paper process used to review parole cases, getting eligible individuals back into the community more quickly and saving up to $15,000 per month for each case.
  6. The Department of Labor and Industry is consolidating operations to eliminate unnecessary office space.

Across the commonwealth, employees have come forward with ideas that have smaller dollar savings but make a big difference. An employee at the Department of Health built a new tool to allow his colleagues to access vital records information faster and save almost $100,000. An Information Technology employee found a way to use existing fiber optic cable for a new purpose, saving more than $200,000.

State agencies are accountable for these results. Projects are evaluated and monitored and savings and expenses are rigorously tracked.

Where are the savings? Agencies are investing them back into services, to make investments that save more time and money, or to provide health care coverage and substance abuse treatment to more Pennsylvanians. We are doing more with less. Our goal is to provide better service, shorter wait times and faster turnaround. And save money while doing it.

The projects ultimately help Pennsylvanians. Our roads will continue to be salted and plowed for less; PennDOT workers will be out in the field more instead of tied to an office, enabling them to get road projects done faster; seniors and low-income citizens who need nutrition assistance will get it and parolees eligible for release will be able to spend time with their loved ones more quickly.

The state employees responsible for helping find the cost savings for these projects are also more fulfilled knowing that their feedback is helping make government work smarter.

After one year we are working smarter. We also know there’s more work to be done. We are using these first projects to build upon the cost savings and continuing to gather valuable feedback from state employees to eliminate waste and inefficiency and provide better service. All of these efforts are helping Governor Wolf transform government. It’s GO-TIME.

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