Report Includes Recommendations to Require State Agencies to Review Current Mandates; Provide a More Flexible Work Schedule for Government Employees; and Encouraging the Use of High Deductible Health Insurance Plans RICHMOND- Governor McDonnell was presented today with the full report from his Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring for his review. An interim report was submitted to the Governor for his review in October. The full report contains 133 recommendations including requiring state agencies to review current mandates; privatizing the sale of distilled spirits; encouraging the use of high deductible health insurance plans; and providing a more flexible work schedule for government employees such as telecommuting, instituting a 4 day/ 10 hour work week at selected agencies, and encouraging Q-status, which provides an option for state employees to receive health benefits and retirement if they work a minimum of 32 hours per week. In addition, the Operational Review Task Force, comprised of private sector leaders and state and local government officials, proposed 79 recommendations for reducing expenses including travel, energy consumption, document/ printer/ copier management, and water usage.
The Governor will review the Commission’s recommendations in greater detail over the coming weeks to determine which ones will be advocated for administrative implementation or legislative action. The Commission will continue its work for the remainder of the administration; its next meeting will be in the spring of 2011. 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 full report, Governor McDonnell remarked, “The Commission has done an exceptional job at looking through current processes and procedures within state government to come up with ways to make it more effective and efficient for the citizens of Virginia. In this tough economy, it is essential to find ways to save time and money. I, again, thank the entire Commission and its leaders, Chairman Fred Malek, Vice Chairmen Speaker William J. Howell and former Senator Benjamin Lambert, for their efforts over the last six months. I look forward to reviewing these recommendations.”
Chairman Malek commented, “I’m pleased that your administration is already acting on some of the Commission’s recommendations. We applaud your request of agency heads to propose spending cuts of 2%, 4%, and 6%. We were encouraged that VDOT has consolidated its local toll-free numbers into one centralized call center, reducing its staff from 100 down to 25 employees. We are also pleased that state agencies are increasing telecommuting and implementing strategies to decrease energy consumption by 5%. The way forward is to abolish and consolidate programs that are ineffective or duplicative and restructure state government to more efficiently deliver core services to Virginians.”
The full report can be found here: http://www.reform.virginia.gov/docs/12-01-10_GovernorsCommissionReport.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.
- Require State Agencies to Review Current Mandates- Challenging economic times and significant budget reductions are cause to review current mandates placed on localities with an eye towards eliminating or suspending those considered to be obsolete and/or those that cannot be implemented.
- 4 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.
- Encourage Agencies to Offer Q-Status for Government Employees- Salaried state employees would be eligible to receive health benefits and retirement if they work a minimum of 32 hours per week. Q-Status allows agencies to save money by reducing salaries while minimizing the impact on knowledge transfer.
- Make High-Deductible Health Plans a More Attractive Option for State Employees- The Virginia Department of Human Resource Management should continue to work with state employees to identify to make high deductible health plans a more attractive option to increase participation and reduce costs. Giving individuals the ability to choose procedures and treatments will empower them to make good decisions and drive down costs.
- Develop Implementation Strategies for the 79 Recommendations from the Operational Review Task Force- The Operational Review Task Force, comprised of state agency heads, local government representatives, and industry leaders from the private sector, looked for savings with commodities including energy consumption; water usage; waste management; phones and data usage; printers, copiers and fax machines; management; asset inventory and management; travel reimbursement; fleet management; banking services; accounts receivable; surplus property; and insurance (risk management and health insurance). The Task Force offered 79 recommendations, which were adopted in concept by the full commission. A list of these recommendations can be found in the appendix of the full report.