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Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

Practicing Fiscal Restraint

By Governor Pete Ricketts
October 26, 2015
The Governor’s official photo is available here.

During the first months of my administration, we have focused on running government more like a business. In past columns, I have shared with you good news about how we are automating sentencing calculation processes at Corrections, improving the performance of our ACCESSNebraska call centers, and putting performance measures in place for each of our agencies and directors.  Throughout all the state agencies, my administration is working to change the culture of state government to one of continuous improvement and operational excellence, so that we can bring costs down while making government work for you.

Towards this end, I hired Ed Toner as the new Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the State of Nebraska this past summer.  The first project I directed him to focus on was helping state agencies use 21st-century information technology to find new efficiencies and cost savings while providing quality services to the taxpayers of Nebraska.  Very quickly, Ed was able to identify some areas where we could eliminate waste and centralize services in his office, and just a few days ago, we announced over $5.3 million in savings from initial reforms.

Ed is already delivering over 20 different ways to cut costs.  One of the most basic ways the Office of the Chief Information Officer has achieved cost savings is by helping state agencies utilize existing software instead of purchasing redundant software licenses.  This approach has reduced the need for multiple software licenses, servers, and maintenance agreements for individual servers for each agency.  An even bigger cost savings in this agency that we announced earlier this week will be realized as ninety counties relocate their servers to central locations hosted by the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO).  This will dramatically reduce server maintenance and infrastructure costs.

These reforms not only have the effect of saving taxpayer dollars, but they also begin to move the state away from decentralized infrastructure and data management that will improve availability and redundancy.  As just mentioned, ninety counties will receive services from one streamlined network that will provide enhanced monitoring by early next year.  At the state level, Ed has also begun the process of centralizing state agency servers to reduce overall risk and complexity.  The process of moving agency servers to a centralized location started with the State Patrol relocating their servers to a central location hosted by the OCIO, and will continue with additional agencies relocating their servers in the coming weeks and months.

Before I sign off for the week, I also wanted to share with you some information about a new license plate honoring Nebraska’s upcoming 150th anniversary.  This special issue license plate is available for purchase through the Department of Motor Vehicles online at or from their local county treasurer office.  It is not only a great way to share the news about our state’s upcoming sesquicentennial in 2017, but a portion of the fee paid for the plate goes towards supporting the celebration activities that are currently being organized.  If you have any questions about how to purchase the plate, please call 402-471-3918, and as always if you have other questions you are welcome to call my office at 402-471-2244 or email me at