Six months after taking office, Gov. Mitch Daniels has released the first Indiana State Government Performance Report. The report details cost savings, agency reorganizations and service improvements totaling a reported $150 million reduction in state spending.
Gov. Mitch Daniels
Daniels asked each of the 30 state agencies in his charge to provide a written assessment of how well the state has met his goals of increasing jobs and income growth, improving customer service, reducing waste and spending tax dollars more prudently.
The report, the first of its kind to provide detailed information to Hoosiers about how state government is performing, also summarizes discoveries, successes and shortcomings, agency by agency.
"Government is not a business, but it can be run in a more businesslike fashion," Daniels said. "Being clear about objectives, measuring concrete progress toward them and insisting upon results and performance is essential to using taxpayer dollars well."
Metrics have been set for 30 state agencies with measurements for core areas categorized as red (unsatisfactory performance), yellow (needs improvement) and green (superior performance). In this first report, more than 85 percent of the measures fall into the red or yellow areas.
"There may be some areas where it will take years and years to turn the corner. True reform takes years, and we will continue to provide these reports periodically pursuant to our commitment to better government and greater accountability," said the governor.
The report captures activity from Jan. 10 to July 10, 2005. The more than $150 million in savings is a combination of many changes detailed in the report. Among the highlights are:
* BMV eliminated the process of mailing notices for driver's license renewals, resulting in annual savings of $200,000.
* The Department of Correction has stopped paying for a private prison in Kentucky to house 650 Indiana offenders. The prisoners have been transferred back to Indiana with a cost savings of $6.6 million.
* The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) consolidated six regional offices at a savings of $1.5 million annually.
* INDOT will now print state road maps every two years, rather than annually, at a savings of $175,000 every other year.
* The Department of Agriculture stopped publishing a cookbook that cost taxpayers $70,000 annually.
* The Department of Natural Resources will replace the Expeditions their law enforcement command staff drive with less expensive Trailblazers, at a savings of $100,000 annually, not including fuel costs.
* BMV has canceled the practice of purchasing bottled water for employees, at a savings of $35,000 each year.
* Chain gangs are back. INDOT and DOC have identified 15 additional offender work crews that will generate an estimated savings of $2 million each year.
* The Department of Administration discontinued the publication of a State Government Telephone Directory, instead using an online directory with an annual savings of $20,000.
* The Alcohol and Tobacco Commission has focused on enforcing the current gaming laws, with nearly $100,000 in illegal proceeds being seized thus far.
* The Hoosier Lottery consolidated the agency's mobile phones under a single shared time pool plan, saving $36,000 annually.
The 90-page report details each agency's findings, as well as changes made since the Daniels Administration took office. Not all changes are listed, however.
It does not mention, for example, that the BMV has or will close more than 20 branches throughout the state, requiring many residents to drive longer distances for services.
And while the report brags about cost savings at the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, there are glaring omissions about the effect changes are having on Indiana's most vulnerable taxpayers.
In June and July the IDWD began centralizing all unemployment claims in the Indianapolis offices. The move involves staff cuts and office closings that are expected to save the state $2 million annually.
But during this transition, thousands of unemployed Hoosiers will have to wait as long as 10 weeks for their first unemployment check to arrive. This is more than triple the average wait of three weeks before administrative changes were undertaken.
The delay particularly affects newly laid off workers and first-time filers whose claims have to be adjudicated - about 30 percent of all new claims. According to Ron Stiver, Indiana Workforce Development commissioner, the backlog of claims will be fully resolved by the end of the year.
"We are about six weeks out for the first check, but we are certainly sympathetic and working tirelessly to resolve the situation," Stiver said.
According to some reports, the state is now hiring temporary workers to replace the nearly 100 IDWD employees who lost their job in the consolidation efforts. These temporary workers are being utilized to speed up the late checks.
In addition, the department has entered into an agreement with the Indiana University Law School at IUPUI to have law students receive credit for serving as non-paid interns to help reduce the worst unemployment insurance appeals backlog in the United States.
The United States Department of Labor cited Indiana as the worst in the country due to the more than 5,500 unresolved cases awaiting hearing. In their first six months, the new administration has reduced that backlog to just over 3,000 appeals and expects to resolve all outstanding appeals within the next few weeks.
The complete Indiana State Government Performance Report can be found online at www.in.gov/gov.