Common sense management will save state millions

By The West Virginia Record | Jun 27, 2006

Gov. Joe Manchin


CHARLESTON -- During my campaign for Governor, I promised that, if elected, I would run state government like a business –- and that's exactly what my administration is doing every day.

For example, during the past 18 months, our state has paid almost $1 billion dollars toward reducing our long-term debt.

West Virginia also is sustaining the lowest unemployment rate in its history -– currently below the national average -– and personal income levels are growing at a rate faster than the national average.

Every economic indicator is pointing in a positive direction, and the only way that we can sustain this growth is by getting, and keeping, our state's financial house in order.

Recently, we took another major step in these efforts with the release of a comprehensive performance review that examines and evaluates the detailed operations of our state government and offers recommendations for how these operations can be improved.

The West Virginia Performance Review Report is the first phase of a two-phase plan to improve the fiscal management of state government operations while providing the most effective and efficient services possible to our citizens.

The report, conducted by nationally-recognized consulting firm Public Works LLC in conjunction with state employees, identifies specific areas within three sections of state government -- Transportation, Purchasing, and Health and Human Resource -- where significant cost savings can be generated.

During the next five years, the State of West Virginia will realize a budgetary savings of more than $318 million by implementing "common sense" recommendations for cost savings suggested in this analysis of state government operations. The recommendations in this report, once implemented, also can significantly improve the efficiency of agencies such as our Division of Highways (DOH), Division of Purchasing, Department of Health and Human Resources, Division of Motor Vehicles, and others.

Specific recommendations in Phase One of this effort include the calibration of salt and cinder spreading equipment in DOH, which has already saved more than $1 million this year and is expected to save as much as $3.5 million annually in future years; the implementation of a statewide cell phone policy and the use of a statewide contract for wireless phone service, which is expected to save at least $1 million annually; and, improved investigation of Medicaid fraud with additional staffing and resources, which is expected to save approximately $20 million annually.

All we're doing as a state is taking the same common sense approach that West Virginia's families use each day in managing their households. It is time that our state's taxpayers begin seeing a return on their investment in our state. As you can see from these examples, these recommended changes will result in a better, and more fiscally responsible, West Virginia state government. The initial results are a minimum of $318 million in savings, and I expect millions more in savings to be delivered to our state's taxpayers through our continued efforts.

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