Governor announces effort to 'transform' government: You have any ideas? | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Governor announces effort to 'transform' government: You have any ideas?

Posted By on Thu, May 18, 2017 at 1:55 PM

click to enlarge TRANSFORMERS: Amy Fecher and Gov. Hutchinson.
  • TRANSFORMERS: Amy Fecher and Gov. Hutchinson.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced an initiative today to ask citizens for ideas on government improvement.

It includes a "citizen-focused" website and hotline called MyIdea. The idea is to ask for input on ways to make government more effective and save money. The hotline and website will be monitored by staff of the Finance and Administration Department. (Phone:  (844) 7MY-IDEA or (501) 683-IDEA.)

Amy Fecher, named by Hutchinson previously to be the state's "chief transformation officer," joined him for the announcement.

Hutchinson differentiated the effort from some past hotlines, such as one set up by Gov. Mike Huckabee to solicit reports on fraud. This effort is "positive and idealized", not targeted at fraud. Not much ever came of Huckabee's fraud hotline.

Hutchinson said the aim is to do something about a "funky, antiquated system" that's the product of "many different political hands." It's not just about cost-saving, either, he said, but about efficiency. Making a smoother license registration process for taxpayers might not save the state money, but would help taxpayers, he said by way of example.

Said a news release:

DFA will determine which agency is best equipped to assess an idea, then forward it to the head of that agency. The governor has directed each agency to report back on an idea within 30 days. DFA and the Chief Transformation Officer, housed in the Governor’s Office, will track the responses.

An observation from someone who's heard ideas about better state government from the public for years: A lot of ideas/complaints/suggestions inevitably concern state employees. Were they helpful? Do they have a job because of political connections? Does one make more than another because of that connection? Are there elements of state government that exist to protect powerful special interests? The state's regulatory structure, which many view as protectionism for various businesses and professions, comes to mind. This is not a knock of seeking ideas. It is only a cautionary note.

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Got any ideas?

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