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More efficient. More effective. More customer-focused. These are three principles that make up the heart and soul of my administration’s mission. In the past, I have shared with you some of the ways we have been working to transform the culture of state government to better serve the taxpayer and grow Nebraska. From launching a first-in-the-nation reemployment program to help Nebraskans get back to work more quickly to improving services at the Department of Health and Human Services, we have made tremendous progress. But our work is not done.
To focus my entire team on our mission of making government more effective, efficient, and customer-focused, I launched a workforce development initiative which was completed by the beginning of this year. Through this initiative, all 12,000 team members in my agencies learned basic process improvement skills, which will help our team at the State of Nebraska focus on streamlining and structuring state services to help grow Nebraska. This training encourages everyone who works in my agencies to always ask the question: How do I provide a higher level of service while bringing costs down?
Process improvement activities have been common in the business world for decades, but Nebraska is on the cutting edge when it comes to applying them in state government. Process improvement activities have led to shorter call wait times at ACCESSNebraska, quicker processing for developmental disabilities applications, and faster permit delivery for the Department of Environmental Quality. In all these cases, we utilized existing resources to improve service, and are now finding ways to reinvest savings and efficiencies to provide an even higher level of service to Nebraskans. My administration has set up the Center for Operational Excellence to lead additional process improvement activities throughout state government to make sure all the agencies in my administration are working for you.
In addition to initiatives led by my office, I am also working with the Legislature this session to make government more efficient and more effective. Recently, Government Committee Chairman John Murante and I announced a merger of our Division of Veterans Homes with the Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs. A single agency will create a one-stop shop for services for Nebraska’s veterans and will forge a single, united team working for the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our state and country.
Transportation Committee Chairman Curt Friesen and I are also working to merge the Department of Roads and the Department of Aeronautics into a new Department of Transportation. A united agency will help Nebraska take a more strategic, long-term view of our state’s transportation needs. It will also create efficiencies, which will allow us to put more money into runways and roads without sacrificing jobs.
Finally, the Legislature and I are teaming up to do away with restrictive requirements for occupational licenses, so we can expand jop opportunities for Nebraskans. Working with my agencies in preparation for the session, we were able to identify areas where Nebraska’s licensing requirements were onerous or out-of-step with other states. Unnecessary licensing restrictions are a barrier to Nebraskans seeking careers in licensed professions, and especially to those who may be looking for a career change or upward mobility. Eight senators and I are partnering together on proposals to get rid of unnecessary regulations to make it easier for everyone from car salespeople, barbers, and cosmetologists to audiologists and massage therapists to start working. Thank you to Senators Albrecht, Craighead, Erdman, Geist, Larson, Lindstrom, Lowe, and Riepe for helping to cut red tape!
While merging state agencies and breaking down barriers to good-paying jobs may sound like common sense steps, special interests are already assembling to oppose some of these measures. Throughout the legislative session, I encourage you to stay in touch with your state senator—they want to hear directly from you. You can find all their contact information by visiting www.NebraskaLegislature.gov. Additionally, if you have thoughts or concerns you would like to share with my office, I hope you will contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-471-2244.