Governing for Results 2000 Progress Report Banner

About This Report    Digital Government

Governing For Results 2000 Report Cover
Cover photo by Halverson Fine Photography
From Process to Results

October 1997 through December 2000:

  • $71.6 million saved
  • $70.6 million in additional revenues
  • Saved other organizations and businesses $107.5 million
  • Improved work processes to save 869,000 staff hours

Regulatory Improvements

  • 2,053 WAC pages eliminated
  • 7,064 Rule sections amended
  • 6,550 Rule sections repealed
  • 23,963 Rule sections reviewed

Governor Gary LockeTaxpayers have demanded a better government and state workers have listened and are working hard to gain the public's trust. State agencies are continuing to make improvements to our government that save us money, generate revenue and provide better service to all of us. I applaud each agency's contributions to the quality of service we offer and commit to you that these efforts will continue. Our goal remains firm: "Make government work better..."

Governor Signature
Governor Gary Locke

July 2000
Department of Information Services
Access Washington Team

The Access Washington state Internal portal was launched in 1998 to replace a static, billboard-style state website called Homepage Washington that averaged only 170,000 monthly visitors. Within one year, page views on Access Washington increased 488% to an average of one million per month, and the numbers keep climbing. Today's Access Washington turns government to face the people, organizing hundreds of government information programs and dozens of transactional services in citizen-centric navigation paths. Access Washington at is the gateway to the digital government community: on-line storefronts and service centers filled with the government information and tools that citizens want, when they want them.

Access Washington
DOC & Whatcom County July 2000
Department of Corrections
Whatcom County Fugitive Task Force

In Whatcom County, no single law enforcement agency was responsible for locating felons with bench warrants. The Department of Corrections initiated a multi-agency approach to find and apprehend these offenders. They reviewed felony offenders on bench warrant status and determined priorities according to community risk. Now, thirteen city, county, state and federal agencies are working together to apprehend high-risk fugitives. Partnerships with the Bellingham Herald Newspaper provided a "most wanted" column, and TCI cable offered a similar service on local television to assist efforts. In one year the task force arrested 66% of the highest risk bench warrant offenders.

October 2000
Department of Ecology, Department of Corrections and Jail Industries Board
Community-Based Litter Cleanup Using Offender Work Crews

Sixteen million pounds of garbage was accumulating on state roadways yearly and only a fraction was picked up. The Department of Corrections and the Jail Industries Board partnered with communities to deploy offender work crews to pick up litter. The Department of Ecology provided technical and financial assistance, supporting litter cleanup programs. Consequently, crews collected 352% more litter between 1997 and 1999 and saw a 479% increase in road miles cleaned. Offenders worked 117,450 hours in 1999 providing a labor value of $669,465 to participating communities. By requiring offenders to perform this community service, less jail space was needed, translating to $244,683 savings statewide.

Litter Cleanup Crew
STEP Program January 2000
Department of Ecology
Small Towns Environment Program (STEP) Team

Costs to develop or upgrade sewage treatment systems are often well beyond the means of small, rural communities. To help offset these costs, Ecology developed STEP, a self-help program. Ecology provides learning tools, information and technical assistance to communities faced with failing sewage systems. Local residents bring their talents and resources together to plan, design, and even construct the sewage treatment system. Palouse, Blanchard, Edison, Wilkeson, Wollochet Harbor and Starbucks have all benefited from this program. $4.4 million in cost avoidance was realized with Ecology grants, loans and self-help. Water quality in streams, rivers and marine waters is improving in these communities.

July 2000
Department of Ecology
Air Quality Gains through Easing the Pain Project

Vehicle owners in the Vancouver area are required to have their vehicles inspected for exhaust emissions every two years. Concern grew about financial hardships that low-income people face when their vehicles fail the test. A partnership was established between the Southwest Clean Air Agency, Salvation Army, Clark County Department of Community Services, the local automotive repair industry and Ecology. Grants of up to $450 for repair costs were provided to low-income vehicle owners. From March 1999 to June 2000, 385 vehicle owners received repair assistance through this program. Each repaired vehicle achieved an average of 65% reduction in air emissions. Repair shops participate by donating time or parts for repairs.

Ecology's Easing the Pain Project
Licensing Service Office Breakthrough October 2000
Department of Licensing
Bellevue Licensing Service Office (LSO) Breakthrough

This office faced increasing workloads with no corresponding increases in staffing. In March 1999, Bellevue's LSO served 7,700 customers who waited an average of 30 minutes. By July, wait times averaged nearly 40 minutes. Using customer feedback and wait time reports as baselines, the team initiated a work plan of 23 action items to address customer issues and wait times. By March 2000 the team was serving 12% more customers and had trimmed average wait times by 55%, down to an average of 13 minutes! The team monitors service by posting wait times daily and anticipates even more improvements following an upcoming office remodel.

April 2000
Department of Retirement Systems
Customer Telephone Access Project Team

Too many customer calls transferred by the receptionist to service units were ending up in voice mail. Teachers, police and other customers without continuous telephone access had difficulty receiving callbacks and were frustrated by the "phone tag." Data from a customer satisfaction survey targeted these same phone-related issues. A new Automated Call Distribution (ACD) system was designed to meet the teams "one and done" service goal. The ACD links customers directly to a Department of Retirement Systems representative the first time they call. ACD reports provide data to improve customer service. Voice mail was reduced 57% and the ACD helped one program successfully handle a 75% increase in incoming calls.

Retirement's Automated Call Distribution
Streamlining the Bid Process April 2000
Department of General Administration
Streamlining Bid Opportunity Process

General Administration manages over 4,800 bid notifications yearly, which are mailed to selected vendors and all minority and women-owned businesses. Each takes two to five days to print and mail. There were concerns that competitive factors were being impacted due to lack of awareness of bidding opportunities. By automating processes on the Internet, vendors are proactively notified, increasing the department's vendor database report by 20%. Improvements have reduced staff time, printing costs and postage, while enhancing customer satisfaction. Results include reduced mailing time (15 minutes), postage and printing savings of $9,000 and 24-hour bid access.

July 2000
Employment Security Department
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Outreach Team

This group designed a publicity campaign, implementation plan and timeline to improve awareness of a beneficial federal tax credit program. The EITC pays low-income working families, and especially WorkFirst clients, up to $3,800 annually. By maintaining a toll-free information hotline, running public service announcements on radio and TV and facilitating statewide distribution of promotional materials, the program produced the largest increase for EITC filers in the nation. Applicants get detailed information about the program and locations for free tax preparation assistance. $348 million in cash payments to low-income workers in 1999 pumped an additional $29.2 million into the state's economy over the previous year.

Earned Income Tax Credit Outreach Team
Corporate Jobs Challenge Project October 2000
Employment Security Department
Corporate Jobs Challenge Project

Employment Security Department partnered with Department of Social and Health Services and the Seattle Chamber to address high unemployment within targeted areas of Seattle. At first, the process of matching low-income residents with employer openings was slow and labor intensive, producing marginal placement numbers. Project staff maximized technologies and replaced written/mailed communications with standardized forms, then added a fax matrix system for submitting job openings. They also designed an e-mail contact list for employers. The marketing by Chamber members and the Governor's hotline increased exposure and job listings. $5,000 was saved reducing direct mailing costs. The employer hiring pool increased by an additional 600 businesses and placements tripled in the last three years.

April 2000
Department of General Administration
On-Line New Employee Orientation Team

In 1992, General Administration offered a four-day New Employee Orientation. The process involved 11 people, 1,408 staff hours and resulted in only 7% of new employees attending. The team chose to create an on-line New Employee Orientation that allows employees to work self-paced. It also provides reference information to all staff. Now, the percentage of employees completing orientation within 30 days is 93%. The new approach also saved over 2,300 staff hours in preparation and delivery.

Revenue's Audit Alternatives January 2000
Department of Revenue
Audit Alternatives Team

This team analyzed alternatives to audit procedures operating in the agency programs. Their options focused on improving customer service to small business and tax professionals, increasing taxpayer understanding of reporting requirements and improving the efficiency of overall operations. They established free consultation visits for individualized education without all the pressures of an audit. They implemented a Managed Audit Pilot, reducing audit times by half, and became the first revenue agency nationally to start a Consultation Visit Program. Voluntary compliance to reporting procedures and relationships with taxpayers improve as businesses learn tax laws and how to avoid reporting errors. Follow-up surveys report 100% customer satisfaction with the consultative reporting.

October 2000
Health Care Authority
Basic Health's Getting Services to Eligible Customers Project

A random sampling of Basic Health Care participants indicated that 24% should no longer receive coverage because they earned too much or now had jobs with benefits. Meanwhile, others were on waiting lists to receive coverage. Basic Health chose a "recertification" process to assess continuing eligibility. Networking with Employment Security they matched databases to document income. 1,400 members are now checked monthly and a process was developed to collect overpayments. 12,784 enrollees were identified ineligible and dropped from the program and nearly $9 million was redeployed to an equal number of "new" participants. $103,457 in overpayments was collected and waiting lists for Basic Health are gone.

Basic Health Team
Wood Salvage January 2000
Department of General Administration
Wood Salvage Project

Storm damage and construction projects produced fallen trees at the 225-acre North Cascades Gateway Center in Sedro-Woolley. General Administration chose something other than cutting, moving and burning the timber. Now, each tree is evaluated for its potential lumber value, transported and milled for construction and maintenance projects. The salvage of oak and cedar has saved over $30,000 and 200 staff hours. The Center's tenant customers benefit from improved services on facility problems because staff is not preoccupied with tree disposal and the environment is spared harmful effects of burning. The National Guard assisted Skagit County by moving the root systems to nearby streams to enhance salmon habitat!

April 2000
Department of Licensing and Department of Corrections
Personalized License Plate Process

In collaboration with King County and law enforcement, Department of Licensing and Department of Corrections concluded that there was no value in issuing temporary license plates. Customers could either continue to use their existing plate/registration or temporary plates could be created with a Word template and laser printer. The team also eliminated several layers of plate-handling between Correctional Industries (who makes the plates) and the customer. Personalized plates are now delivered in less than two weeks instead of up to seven weeks. The effort has saved over 500 hours of staff time and nearly $1,000 in printing, supply and mailing costs.

Personalized Plates
January 2000
Washington State Lottery
Licensing Improvement Process - (LIP 2)

Lottery retailers must be licensed through a process facilitated by regional and headquarters staff. The procedure averaged 33 days and was complex for customers and staff alike. A team was charted to streamline the process and improve communications. They flowcharted, reviewed forms, simulated and video taped the process, brainstormed solutions and developed action plans. Processing time improved to 21 days with an increase of $1 million to the General Fund due to applicant's ability to sell Lottery products sooner. Forms were reduced and communications improved with a statewide computer file.

January 2000
Department of General Administration
Point and Click Team

Central Stores customers placed orders by telephone, on an old mainframe computer system or in writing. The printed catalog was out of date and there were large expenditures associated with making the old computer year 2000 compliant. General Administration released a new electronic catalog called the "Point and Click Order System" on Internet. It eliminates mailing the printed catalog to many customers and provides access to current products on-line. A built-in search mechanism assists customers locating items. They view color images and establish their own customized list of "frequently ordered items." Usage is up 200% with 78% of orders placed via Internet, saving $17,950 on catalog printing costs. Customers now save approximately 10 minutes per order.

Point and Click Team
On-Line Ordering Team October 2000
Department of Printing and Employment Security Department
On-line Ordering System

Manual updating of computer files and typesetting of printed materials were labor intensive. Purchasing processes were particularly slow, involving multiple forms through purchasing units and then to Printing for production. The On-line Business Card and Stationery Ordering System allows print orders submitted via the Internet. "Batched orders" receive price breaks and agencies are invoiced monthly on an open requisition. The new process simplifies ordering, reduces spoilage costs and decreases turnaround times. The improvements reduced business card costs by approximately 20%, decreased turnaround time by an average of 67% and saved an estimated $55,500 per year.

July 2000
Department of Labor and Industries
Factory Assembled Structures (FAS) Process Improvement Team

Labor and Industries approves plans for modular building construction. Manufactures complained about the process, citing a low 30% acceptance rate for first time plans, poor communications and a lack of consistency and professionalism. In collaboration with manufacturers, the team improved communications, developed training and computerized processes. They raised approval rates and enhanced customer service without lowering standards or sacrificing public safety. The plan approval rate went from 30% to 72% for the following 19-month period, an increase of 140%. Training is provided on-site and on-line and issues get corrected over the phone, saving time and money for the manufacturers.

State Library October 2000
Washington State Library
Partnering Brings Electronic Databases to All Libraries

Washington libraries were spending up to $8 per user to allow access to electronic databases of newspapers and periodicals. The high cost meant that only 34 of the state's 69 public libraries could afford such services; rural, school and special libraries were especially hard hit. Staff at the Washington State Library leveraged federal funding in a two-year pilot program to purchase statewide licenses for two full-text databases of general periodicals and Washington newspapers at a fraction of the original cost. The resulting cost, less than seventy-eight cents per user, permitted participation by ALL Washington libraries: public, K-12, academic, tribal and special libraries.

April 2000
Department of Labor and Industries
Pharmacy Point-of-Service Project Team

This team launched an on-line automated billing system that reduces pharmacy risk and administrative burden when filling injured workers' prescriptions. The point-of-service billing system tells workers up front whether the department will cover prescription costs. Bills are settled before dispensing prescriptions. Administrative costs and professional fees are reduced. The results show an average of 5,430 fewer paper pharmacy bills and 13,000 fewer manual prescription entries monthly. The system will save the state 1,800 staff hours and almost $2 million in professional fees annually.

Pharmacy POS Project