ONE-THIRD OF EFFICIENCY PROJECT RECOMMENDATIONS ADOPTED
Gov. Asa Hutchinson said one-third of the recommendations "are likely to be" practical, while one-third "might be" and the other one-third "may not be" feasible.
Policy Foundation, 20th anniversary event, December 2015
(March 2019) The Policy Foundation's Efficiency Project made 60 policy recommendations in Fall 2016. Twenty-one had been adopted as of early 2019.
The following recommendations have either been completely or partially adopted, and are advancing a culture of efficiency within Arkansas state government.
1) Mission Statements. Agency officials expressed support for efficiency as a concept, though few mission statements include the term. Each agency should include the word efficiency in their mission statement and post it online in an easily accessible format.
2) Overall State Strategic Plan. A statewide strategic plan is critical to align state budgets and operations.
3) Agency Strategic Plans. Only five state agencies post a strategic plan. This culture runs counter to a Government Finance Officers Association recommendation that "all government entities use some form of strategic planning to provide a long-term perspective for service delivery and budgeting, thus establishing logical links between authorized spending and broad organizational goals."1 Each agency should have a strategic plan and post it online so it is accessible to citizens.
4) Efficiency Section. Each plan should include a section explaining how the agency will advance efficiency.
6) Performance Measures. Agency measures should be quantifiable.
8) Publicize Employee Suggestion System. The program was established to incentive state employees to make suggestions; yet records and agency responses to the questionnaire show few employees participate. There is anecdotal evidence that employees do not understand the program or its potential to identify additional efficiencies.
9) Incentivize State Employees. Compensation was a recurring theme during interviews. Some departments have voluntarily eliminated positions, and are operating with fewer employees. Remaining employees should be eligible for increased compensation if they are productive, and the agency returns savings.
13) Senior staff briefings. Senior agency staff should be briefed on efficiency initiatives in Arkansas and other states.
Senior staff and interested employees should be briefed on these strategies.
16) Other Management Strategy: Lean Six Sigma. Lean Six Sigma is a management strategy that seeks to eliminate waste. One agency has successfully used the strategy. Senior staff should be briefed on this agency's efforts.
19) Paperwork Reduction. Excessive paperwork was a recurring theme during interviews. The abundance of government red-tape is also a frequent complaint in the commercial world. Concerted efforts should be made to reduce paperwork requirements in both spheres.
20) Oversight Authority. Formal or informal oversight for these recommendations and others should rest with an individual or team that shall work in a collaborative manner with the executive branch to advance efficiencies.
The following recommendations are unique to specific agencies:
21) Agriculture: Department-identified consolidation and restructuring initiatives should be encouraged.
36) Finance and Administration: The collection of some outstanding accounts receivable should be privatized if the department is unable to reduce the net balance by 5%.
41) Workforce Services: DWS compiles Arkansas labor market information, and it should expand its monthly nonfarm payroll employment report to include private industry sectors engaged in coding and technology-related services. The information should be incorporated into economic development initiatives to reduce silos.
44) Military/National Guard: The agency is unique among state agencies in using a Lean Six Sigma process to advance efficiency. Lean Six Sigma is a management process that seeks to eliminate waste. Management of other state agencies would benefit from understanding this process.
Five recommendations address unintended economic consequences that waste scarce resources:
48) NSLA funding is distributed in an inefficient manner.
50) Certain funds are not being distributed to low-income K-12 school districts as originally intended.
Four recommendations address state practices:
53) Consolidation. Consolidation should be used to advance efficiencies.
54) Performance Pay. Some state agencies are using this strategy to advance efficiencies. The practice should be applied to other agencies.
55) Procurement. The state's procurement system should be analyzed for potential efficiencies.
One recommendation addresses citizenship:
57) Arkansas Grace Commission. A citizen panel to advance efficiencies in state government should be established with a two-year sunset clause.