Efficiency + Effectiveness: A Government that Works for ALL Virginians
“I will lead a more efficient, service-oriented state government with a smaller, more fairly compensated workforce to serve ALL Virginians.”
– Ed Gillespie
The Governor of Virginia is the chief executive officer of the Commonwealth, responsible for the management and day-to-day oversight of its departments, agencies, workforce and services. For too long, Virginians have seen leadership that is more focused on ceremonial duties, international travel and national politics rather than the business of Virginia. Virginians deserve a chief executive officer who is focused on management, not Sunday shows and partisan rallies.
As governor, Ed Gillespie will serve Virginians as an effective and prepared manager – focused equally on leadership and management.
Virginians are fortunate to have thousands of good people serving in our state workforce dedicated to helping their fellow citizens, but too often red tape hinders their ability to do so. We must do more to recognize, reward and retain our state employees so they can better deliver for the people of Virginia.
Our state workforce is now facing a retirement cliff. A recent headcount reported that there are 98,237 full-time executive branch salaried employees in Virginia. A recent presentation from the Department of Human Resources Management (DHRM) reported that, “the workforce is aging, early to mid-career employees are leaving at the fastest rate, compensation on average is well below market.” Our state government could manage each of these challenges individually as it does now, but when combined these challenges demand new leadership and a fresh approach to the state workforce and its organization and compensation.
Our state agencies operate in silos, holding back workers from best serving the people, families and communities of the Commonwealth. Ed Gillespie will reorient government to solve Virginia’s problems, demand evidence-based solutions, right-size our government to better steward taxpayer dollars and incentivize our state government workforce to be more responsive to our needs.
Good government is not just about savings and efficiencies – it is about people. When government errs the consequences are real. From education to public safety to mental health, government has the ability to help people and communities thrive. Good government matters to Virginians.
For too long now, program and funding decisions have been awarded or evaluated based on who had the most effective spokesperson, who offered the shiniest brochure or having “always done it this way.” We have to be better. Ed Gillespie will institute a best-in-class system of rewarding performance and results for all Virginians. It will take time, discipline and a commitment from government leaders, but if implemented alongside hardworking Virginia public servants, we will succeed.
Ed’s experience starting and running businesses in the private sector, managing a large White House staff and chairing a national party with a complex organizational structure will help make him an effective chief executive officer as our governor.
This Plan provides a blueprint for management, but thoughtful skeptics should ask why now and what makes this government reform effort different, where is the accountability? As governor, Ed will not wait for reporters or watchdog groups to hold the administration accountable to this plan, he will keep the public informed and let the public hold him accountable directly. He will launch and operate the “Efficiency + Effectiveness Dashboard” on his website. The Dashboard will provide detailed status updates on each component of the “A Government that works for ALL Virginians” Plan.
BECOMING THE BEST MANAGED STATE IN THE COUNTRY: THE FOUNDATIONS
Virginians deserve a government that is focused on results – from education to public safety to transportation. We need a governor who drives results, not just issues press releases. Too often, government programs and funding continue because of inertia, despite a lack of success. This approach is not accepted at kitchen or boardroom tables, and it should not be accepted in our state’s government.
Appoint a Chief Operating Officer
As governor, Ed Gillespie will appoint a Chief Operating Officer (COO) to oversee efficiency and quality of the citizen experience. The COO will manage a portfolio focused on performance, continual improvement and lean practices. This model has been adopted in states like Arizona, Tennessee, Missouri, and Nebraska. The COO will oversee the Commonwealth Solutions Center.
The Commonwealth Solutions Center
Ed Gillespie will lead a government efficiency initiative aimed at identifying $200 million in savings during the course of his administration by establishing the Office of Innovation and Efficiency. This “Commonwealth Solutions Center” will be an office within the Executive Office of the Governor. The Commonwealth Solutions Center will be charged with promoting innovation and modernizing government operations to reduce costs and improve services. The Center will bring together top talent and remove barriers to developing innovative approaches to cross-agency challenges. This is important given government’s growing need to respond quickly to an increasingly challenging fiscal and economic environment. The Commonwealth Solutions Center will:
Select and prioritize projects, including ideation and crowdsourcing: Projects will be selected and prioritized using both highly disciplined and outreach-oriented processes. Selection criteria will include degree of impact to the state, speed to results, overall cost and the state’s capacity to deliver. Tools will be developed to promote ideation among government talent and crowdsource potential projects from private sector partners and Virginians everywhere.
Organize and conduct its work through “sprints”: The primary responsibility of the Commonwealth Solutions Center will be to execute cross-agency projects to support the Administration’s efficiency and effectiveness priorities. A “sprint” is a leading practice of agile project management and can be tailored to solve specific government challenges. This approach is intensely collaborative — leveraging innovation teams in short and effective problem solving exercises and engagement with senior leadership to remove impediments. This provides additional flexibility to rapidly solve cross-agency challenges that can arise suddenly during an administration.
Monitor cost savings and improved services: The Commonwealth Solutions Center has a goal of $200 million in cost savings and 50% improvement in customer service metrics at cross-agency and agency levels. Costs and customer service metrics will be tracked through a project management tool and monitored on a quarterly basis in order to ensure savings goals are achieved. Cost savings will include:
Direct dollar savings: One time reductions or ongoing savings
Productivity savings: An estimate of change between current and future processes
Cost avoidance: A reduction in planned or budgeted expenditures resulting from an agency initiative or action
Additional calculations include subtracting actual or estimated savings to determine net project savings and prorating savings based on the date of project implementation. Customer service metrics should be identified in collaboration with customer-facing agencies.
Bring together top talent: Sprints are led by innovation teams. To maximize return, it is critical that top government talent across agencies, private sector partners, and other stakeholders are engaged.
This Center will also lead efforts to instill leading practices into agencies. This is best achieved through managed change and outreach initiatives, including:
Developing and fostering a Cardinal Champion Network (including Solutions Center alumni and fellowships) to advance best practices and improve the employee experience for top government talent
Procuring digital collaboration tools to foster grassroots innovation among government employees
Leveraging leading practices, including agile development techniques and lean six sigma tools, to develop toolkits for agencies
Developing an innovation curriculum and training program
Promoting agency modernization efforts through innovation contests and employee recognition.
Host a Good Government Hackathon
Ed Gillespie and his cabinet will involve citizens, state employees and experts from across the Commonwealth. Within his first 100 days in office, his administration will host a good government hackathon to harness private sector expertise and business-like solutions to improve how government functions and delivers services.
Reduce Improper Payments
Fraud, waste, and abuse in government spending drain taxpayer dollars. A multi-layered approach that mashes new tools and techniques such as predictive analytics, behavioral economics, and collective intelligence offer ways to address the problem. As governor, Ed Gillespie will work to cut improper payments.
Virginia has a dedicated state workforce that is edging near a retirement cliff. Virginia’s state employees deserve a governor that will involve them in the search for solutions – that means listening to and working with state employees from Day One.
Open and Frequent Communication with State Employees
Too often decisions made at the executive level of state government are not properly conveyed to state employees who serve in every corner of our Commonwealth. As governor, Ed will regularly meet with state employees to hear their concerns and – more importantly – their ideas for improving service and protecting taxpayer dollars.
State Workforce Transformation: Dedicate 50% of Savings from Not Filling 1,000 Positions Vacated through Attrition to Employee Compensation
Our Commonwealth’s workforce is comprised of talented leaders working to serve our fellow Virginians. As governor, Ed will oversee a significant shift in the state workforce as nearly 25% of the state workforce is eligible to retire in the next five years – a time that will coincide with his term in office.While a significant number of retirements will occur within higher education or the judicial and legislative branches of government (where a governor has less ability to directly manage the human resources policy decisions), leadership can chart a course for Virginia’s state government workforce. Ed Gillespie will lead a transformation where a more efficient, smaller state workforce is more fairly compensated relative to the private sector.On Day One of the Gillespie Administration, Ed will charge his Secretary of Administration, Secretary of Finance and Chief of Staff to convene the Governor’s Task Force on State Workforce Transformation to manage this transition. The working group will right-size the state government workforce through retirements and attrition and develop a compensation model that rewards talent and service. The Task Force will identify at least 1,000 positions that do not need to be replaced, but can be realigned with other positions, or automated with new technologies. In order to better compensate our state workforce, Ed will allocate 50% of all savings from not filling vacancies resulting from retirements and attrition back into employee compensation. This transformation can be achieved through attrition and not through layoffs. For every 100 retirements, the Gillespie Administration would fill 95 positions and consolidate or eliminate five.There are a number of ongoing reviews of employee compensation. For example, The Commission on Employee Retirement Security and Pension Reform, led by Speaker of the House William J. Howell, was formed to study, report and make recommendations on the financial soundness of all defined benefit retirement plans administered by VRS, attributes of retirement plans for current and future state and local employees, impact of and strategies for addressing anticipated retirements in the next 10 years, and elements of compensation and benefit packages to attract and retain a highly productive state and local government workforce. This, along with a new study for the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) on Total Compensation for State Employees (due to be released on November 13) will serve as formative analyses to advise the Governor’s Task Force on State Workforce Transformation.
A New Generation of Virginia Leadership
In order for Virginians to be best served by our government, Virginia needs to be able to recruit and retain talent from a generation that is transient and values flexibility and options more than longevity. As governor, Ed will lead an initiative to better align the options available to millennial and iGen workers by selecting ten agencies to participate in a “Next Generation Recruitment” pilot program to examine what incentives and options are most attractive to the workforce of tomorrow.
PAYING FOR RESULTS: BUILDING AN EVIDENCE-FOCUSED VIRGINIA GOVERNMENT
Too often government programs that drive results are crowded-out because policymakers do not have the tools to separate the highly-effective from the long-established. In order to accelerate results, produce cost savings and cost avoidance, Ed Gillespie will establish a new standard for state government.
Evidence-Based Policy Making Executive Order
Ed will sign an Executive Order detailing the Administration’s prioritizing of evidence-based policymaking. The Pew Charitable Trusts defines evidence-based policymaking as the “systematic use of findings from program evaluations and outcome analyses (“evidence”) to guide government policy and funding decisions. By focusing limited resources on public services and programs that have been shown to produce positive results, government can focus spending on more cost-effective options, reduce funding for ineffective programs and improve the outcomes of services funded by taxpayer dollars.” In a recent study scoring the Prevalence of Evidence-Based Policymaking Across the States, The Pew Charitable Trusts found that Virginia is trailing other states in terms of evidence-based actions.Ed will designate a liaison from each agency and a deputy secretary from each secretariat to participate in evidence-based policymaking process development. This initiative will be led by the Governor’s Policy Office and the Department of Planning and Budget (DPB).
As governor, Ed Gillespie will institute a zero-based budgeting process for the next biennial budget. Just as Virginians do around their kitchen tables every month, Virginia’s executive branch will undertake a comprehensive review of its spending and justify decisions to continue funding General Fund programs. Further, Ed will support legislation to require the Commonwealth to undergo a zero-based budgeting exercise at least every ten years.
Ed Gillespie will work with the General Assembly to develop a strategy to pilot Pay-for-Success (PFS) financing in the Commonwealth. He will also direct his Administration to work with the University of Virginia Pay for Success Lab and stakeholders to identify practices to advance PFS in state government. Pay-for-Success is a form of results-based financing that protects taxpayer dollars by partnering with the private sector to validate and measure program interventions before the government pays for the service. Principally, PFS can reshape large government grants programs to be based on Pay-for-Success principles and improve social outcomes in areas like recidivism, preventive health, unemployment and even school drop-out rates.
Institute a High Risk List
Modeled after the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) High Risk List, Ed Gillespie will institute a ‘High Risk List’ to be updated every two years at the start of a new General Assembly session. High Risk is defined as an agency or program at serious risk of fraud, waste or abuse, consistently underperforming program metrics or working outside its statutory authority. The Department of Planning and Budget (DPB), in consultation with the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and the Auditor of Public Accounts (APA), will publish a list of agencies and program areas that are considered high risk.
ENHANCING CITIZENS’ AND BUSINESSES’ EXPERIENCE INTERACTING WITH STATE GOVERNMENT
The key to improving Virginians’ interactions with their government is to design processes with an eye toward the citizen experience and not toward a government organizational chart.
Citizen Experience (CX) Redesign
As governor, Ed Gillespie will lead a Citizen Experience (CX) redesign. He and his cabinet will launch the initiative by hosting a design-thinking and customer experience summit with state employees and citizens to reimagine the citizen experience in interacting with our state government.The Commonwealth Solutions Center, in partnership with the Chief Operating Officer (COO) will lead the CX redesign initiative.
Private sector businesses increasingly rely on digitization of materials to streamline processes. Ed will lead an effort to emulate these practices and develop a Virginia Government Digitization Strategy. Utilizing technologies will significantly increase the organization and ease with which state employees do their jobs. Digitizing state agencies means that state employees will be able to hear from more citizens in a more efficient way.,
Automate 100s of time-consuming, repeatable, manual tasks across Virginia government
Process robotics is one of the easiest and simplest artificial technologies that could be implemented across the state government, enabling agencies to get autonomous processes in systems. This would free up time for employees to focus on more pressing issues, such as citizen engagement. Ed Gillespie will utilize this technology, allowing automated systems to work around the clock – opening email attachments, cutting and pasting structured data, following “if-then” rules, making calculations, logging into applications, extracting structured data, and more. Through automation, employees’ time can be reallocated to higher value activities.
Combine Analytics and Behavioral Insights to Drive Results
Ed Gillespie will create a Behavioral Insights Unit to work with the Commonwealth Solutions Center to accelerate solutions by changing behavioral interactions with government. This, when combined with data-driven decision making through enhanced analytics will make it easier for citizens to comply with government requirements, reduce costs and produce better outcomes.