Spring 2003 Awards Ceremony
Governor's Award for Quality and Performance
Web-Based Employer Transmittal Project
Department of Retirement Systems
The Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) collects data on compensation and retirement from 1260 public employers for over 280,000 active members. The employers represent a wide range of public agencies, including cities, counties, utility districts, colleges and schools. While large employers report electronically, smaller employers did not have the resources to develop reporting systems that would integrate with their payroll systems – they used a paper process that then had to be entered manually by DRS staff. The paper process was time consuming, to the extent that sometimes retirees first retirement check was processed before the information from the last paycheck was entered, meaning benefits had to be adjusted, and the adjustment explained. The team involved staff and employers in designing a web-based paperless submittal process that has been adopted by over 70% of the targeted users, and has reduced errors by 90 percent.
Governor's Award for Quality and Performance
Investing in Employees Pays Off
Office of Financial Management
The Office of Financial Management plays a critical role in developing policy, compiling the budgets for all state agencies and allocating resources. Staff comes to OFM because they value the opportunity to make a difference, but the stress and the hours were causing alarming rates of turnover and burnout. Benchmarking revealed a turnover rate 25% higher than the national average for classified employees, and a median tenure of half the national average. The costs of recruiting and replacing employees were also significant. Using surveys, focus groups, exit interviews, leave records and process data, the team identified several contributing factors to the turnover and burnout, and developed an array of solutions to address them. Solutions included a critical path approach to simplifying the budget process that eliminated the 7 day work week, reallocation of staff to meet areas and times of peak demand, development of a “training forum” that brought all staff together for a week of off-site training. As a result, turnover was reduced by 80%, vacancies reduced by 75%, overtime and call-back pay reduced by $19,080 per year, and costs to satisfy continuing education requirements reduced by 96%.
Mary Van Verst
Governor's Award Quality and Performance
Claims Cost Reduction Team
Department Social and Health Services
At Fircrest School, time lost due to ‘on-the-job’ injuries was costing the agency $920,000 per year and 3175 in time loss days. It was also adversely affecting clients when the continuity of care was interrupted. A team of staff, managers and attending physicians analyzed the root causes of employees not returning to work more quickly and identified root causes for employees not to return to work, including the lack of light duty options. The team developed an array of solutions to address the root causes, including the development of more light duty options, better followup with attending physicians, and streamlined processes for closing claims. As a result, the agency experienced a 25% reduction in time loss days, and savings of $480,000 in FY 2000. Surveys of staff, managers and claims processors also indicated improvements in morale, staffing levels and productivity.
Governor's Award for Customer Service
Small Agency Initiative
Department Information Services, Department of General Administration, Office of Financial Management
Operating with small staffs and few resources, small state agencies struggle to keep pace with the rapidly evolving technology practices of larger agencies and the private sector, including many of their customers. Connectivity to the State Government network is not consistent cross small agencies, who often cannot access the state’s internal Web applications such as the payroll and personnel systems.
As a result, small agencies face significant operational disadvantages and run a significant IT security risk. DIS worked with GA and OFM to develop a model for:
As a result of this collaborative effort, citizens have better access to the services and information of state agencies, and small agencies realized cost avoidance of $82,000.
Peter Antolin, OFM
Department of Labor & Industries
Governor's Award for Public Value and Benefit
Child Support Internet Payment Service
Department of Social and Health Services
The division of child support is responsible for collecting and distributing over $50 million in child support payments monthly. Getting payments to recipients quickly is critical, as the families who receive these payments are highly dependent on them. Most of the payments are collected from employers as automatic payroll deductions, but existing touch-tone dialing collection processes were cumbersome or time consuming for mid-size employers. This project developed an Internet payment process that allowed employers and direct-paying non-custodial parents to make child support payments over the web. As a result, the team has cut internal processing costs from $.63 per transaction to $.18 per transaction.