Efficiency Counts!

Gov. Ted Kulongoski Has Reduced the Cost of Government By More Than One Billion Dollars During His First Term in Office, While Making State Services More Accessible to Oregonians

In government, as in the private sector, efficiency counts. Efficiencies, large and small, add up to real savings and better services.

Governor Ted Kulongoski has made state government more efficient, less costly and more productive than ever before. He has reduced the cost of state government by more than one billion dollars, while making state services more accessible to Oregonians.

Here are examples in ten separate categories.

1. Leaner Administration = Doing More with Less

Under Gov. Kulongoski, the Board of Higher Education reorganized management responsibilities, delegated more authority to the state’s seven universities and eliminated management positions in the central office of the Oregon University System (OUS).
Savings and Benefits: The changes at the top in OUS saved the university system more than $6 million annually and allowed more money to go to academic programs and student aid at the campus level.

2. Less Paperwork = Lower Costs for Businesses, Individuals and the State

In his first executive order after taking office in 2003, Gov. Kulongoski instructed state agencies to streamline regulations and reduce the burden on business. Since then, state agencies have eliminated more than 250,000 pages of paperwork that businesses had been required to file with the state.
Savings and Benefits: Savings for the state, reduced costs for businesses.

The state’s Workers Compensation Division reduced its claims form for workers and their employers (Form 801) from five pages of “just in case” information to one page of instructions, and a single page of information.

Savings and Benefits: Savings for the state, reduced time and costs for workers and businesses.

3. Pooled Purchasing = Better Prices for Services and Supplies

Gov. Kulongoski has pooled purchasing power for the state agencies through the Smart Buy program to get better prices on the services, supplies and equipment – everything from automobile tires to office computers -- that they purchase from private vendors.
Savings and Benefits: $25 million in lower costs for the state and participating local governments.

State agencies have adopted a common set of software tools to manage licensing and to interact with licensees on line. Through leadership from such agencies as the Board of Nursing, the Board of Pharmacy and the Department of Consumer & Business Services, Oregon now has a paid-for enterprise-wide license for these products.

Savings and Benefits: Any state agency can now use these systems without paying another nickel for the software, and projects that work across agency lines to coordinate licensing will continue to get easier.

Oregon State Hospital reduced its prescription drug costs by affiliating with a larger buying group for pharmacy purchases.

Savings and Benefits: $250,000 per year.

4. Consolidated Operations = Better Services at Lower Costs

The Department of Administrative Services now coordinates mail operations for most state agencies in Salem, using centralized mail metering and processing to save on postage costs.
Savings and Benefits: The state has saved $2.5 million in lower postage costs.

Under Gov. Kulongoski, the Oregon University System combined the computer functions of the state’s smaller regional universities.

Savings and Benefits: This consolidation is saving the university system $1 million a year.

5. Better Coordination = Faster, Smoother Service Delivery

When the Governor took office, Oregon had no large, “shovel ready” sites for businesses looking to locate in Oregon or for existing ones looking to expand. Under a new program, multiple agencies review potential sites and resolve any issues relating to utilities, environmental or land use issues, transportation access or other barriers to rapid development so that companies don’t have to go to each agency individually
Savings and Benefits: Lower costs for the state and new jobs for Oregon workers. More than 40 new sites have since been certified, helping bring employers like Amy’s Kitchen, Lowe’s, Genentech and Google to Oregon.

Under Gov. Kulongoski, the Oregon University System developed a coordinated system for the state’s community colleges and universities to provide up-to-date information on course requirements and credits for students transferring between community colleges and the state’s universities.

Savings and Benefits: Savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars at the community college level and more than $1 million at the university level when fully implemented. Students will be able to complete their graduation requirements more quickly and our community colleges and universities will eliminate costs for duplicative or unnecessary courses.

6.New Technologies = More Accessible Services and Faster Turn-Around Times

Gov. Kulongoski has made Oregon a leader in adopting new time-saving technologies to make state services easier to access and faster to use. As a result, more Oregonians can take care of business with the state on line, not in line.

The state Employment Dept. has converted to over-the-phone services for laid-off workers. Specially trained employees now handle unemployment insurance claims from three service centers in Eugene, Bend and Portland. Fewer staff now handle more claims, and claimants avoid travel and waiting times at Employment Dept. offices.

Savings and Benefits: Savings of $2-3 million per year for the state and savings in times and travel expenses for laid-off workers.

The Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is improving the way residents in the Portland and Medford areas get their vehicle emissions tested. The addition of credit and debit card service opens the door to new touch-screen technology that will make vehicle inspection even more convenient in the future. A 24/7 self-testing lane will be available to all 1996 and newer vehicle customers this year. DEQ is designing remote testing options where customers can download their vehicle’s emission system information and pay DEQ testing and DMV registration fees via the internet or U.S. Mail.

Savings and Benefits: Savings in operating costs and more convenience for car owners.

The Oregon Health Licensing Agency began offering an online license renewal option in May 2006. So far, over 500 licensees have renewed online. The agency expects that half of its licensees will renew on line by the end of the 2006 fiscal year. OHLA plans to expand its online e-commerce services to allow licensees to pay for license applications, civil penalties and late fees on line.

Savings and Benefits: Savings of thousands of dollars in postage and paper and savings in time for health professionals.

The Department of Consumer & Business Services’ Building Codes Division has made its license renewals available on line. Over 5,000 licenses, representing nearly one third of its licenses, have been renewed on line since the program began.

Savings and Benefits: More savings postage and paper and savings in time for building contractors.

Oregon received a $250,000 grant to expand electronic permitting statewide. Launched earlier this year by DCBS as a pilot project, the e-permitting portal is a one-stop Web site that allows electrical, plumbing, and mechanical contractors to apply and pay for routine permits from six city and county building departments in the Portland tri-county area through a single web site. Plans for the use of the federal appropriation include expanding the portal to the entire tri-county area, then to other cities and counties statewide. While other individual cities and counties around the nation are experimenting with e-permitting, Oregon will be first to put such a plan into action statewide.

Savings and Benefits: Less paperwork for the state and faster approvals for contractors.

Trucking On-line is a system which allows truckers and trucking companies to do most of their business with ODOT on line, not in line. From January 2003 through June 2006, these companies used a home or office computer for over 625,000 transactions or record inquiries that formerly required a phone call, fax, mail delivery or field office visit. There are more than 9,000 Oregon-based trucking companies, and this year it became possible for those with commercial-plated trucks to transact all of their business online.

Savings and Benefits: This system will save hours standing in line at DMV and reams of paperwork.

Oregon’s on-line license directory is already one of the best in the country, but it’s getting bigger and better. The directory has over 1,100 state licenses of every kind, from marriage licenses to contractor registration to water quality permits. Now, it’s expanding to include county, city, and special districts, beginning with Clackamas and Marion Counties, and the cities of Sandy, Canby, Wilsonville and Salem.

Savings and Benefits: Less paperwork and faster and easier access to licenses.

Oregon’s vehicle inspection program is the first in the nation to design remote and 24/7 testing options. DEQ is also studying an optional/elective remote broadcast system that will only transmit emissions system data. For those that choose, this will offer an alternative to visiting the DEQ station.

Savings and Benefits: More convenient access to testing for vehicle owners.

The state’s Workers Compensation Division now allows permanently disabled workers to request payments in a lump sum via phone, fax or e-mail instead of requiring a written document.

Savings and Benefits: A faster, cheaper process for injured workers, insurers and employers.

7. Smarter Regulations = More Effective Services

The state Building Codes Division has simplified safety regulations for industrial electrical equipment. House Bill 2717, passed in 2003 at the request of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), exempts certain kinds of industrial electrical equipment from duplicative certification and evaluation requirements.
Savings and Benefits:The state can focus on more effective regulations, and Oregon manufactures, such as Intel, save time and money in getting equipment up and running.

The Board of Chiropractic Examiners changed its licenses to expire throughout the year, rather than all at the same time. This helps them smooth the workflow, troubleshoot individual renewal questions or problems, and speed the overall process.

Savings and Benefits: Most renewals, which used to take up to a week, are now processed in 48 hours.

8. PERS Reforms = Lower Payroll Costs and a Better-Funded Retirement System

Gov. Kulongoski’s reforms of the Public Employee Retirement System have reduced payroll costs for the state, local governments, school districts, community colleges and the state university system, while preserving fair retirement benefits for public workers and stabilizing costs that were spiraling out of control.
Savings and Benefits: $976 million in reduced payroll costs from 2004-05 through 2006-07 for the state, local schools districts and local governments, of which approximately were savings $293 million were direct savings to the state.

The use of pension obligation bonds, authorized by the 2003 legislature, has allowed the state and local governments to reduce future pension obligations with smart investment practices.

Savings and Benefits: $47.3 million in reduced payroll costs for the state and local governments from 2004-05 through 2006-07.

9. Saving Energy = Saving Cold Cash

Gov. Kulongoski has urged state agencies to update their energy systems to conserve energy and reduced costs.
Savings and Benefits: The Oregon University System will save $900,000 in energy costs from the installation of new, more efficient heating and cooling systems.

10. Better Management, Streamlined Operations = More, Better, Faster Services

By streamlining its medical review process, the state’s Workers Compensation Division reduced the average number of days it takes to resolve a medical dispute from 115.2 days in 2002 to only 36.2 days in 2006.
Savings and Benefits: Faster, more responsive service for injured workers waiting to get approval for medical treatment and for physicians waiting to provide those services.

The Division of Medical Assistance Programs (DMAP) has implemented new disease management programs and nurse advice lines for Oregonians covered by the Oregon Health Plan. These services, provided under contract with McKesson Health Solutions, direct patients to the most cost-effective services and health practices for their conditions.

Savings and Benefits: $210,000 in General Funds ($800,000 All Funds) and better health services for persons enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan’s fee-for-service group.

Total documented savings from efficiencies and cost reductions = $1.1 billion for the state, schools and local governments.

Posted on October 13, 2006