Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Governor’s Award for Quality and Performance
November 17, 2003
Good afternoon, and thank you for that warm welcome. Thank you Karen for coordinating today’s ceremony.
Twice a year I have the privilege of coming here and looking over your displays of the work of teams of state employees. Every time I learn more about your outstanding work. And every time I leave here filled with pride. And the knowledge that we have the best teams of state employees in the country.
I am once again very impressed with your displays and your hard work. Your projects do a great job of showing the wide range of services we provide to the people of Washington. Your projects show just how many people we touch everyday, all across the state.
You’ve helped so many people.
You’ve helped kids whose fathers are incarcerated at McNeil Island learn that there are no bars on the heart of a father’s love.
You’ve alleviated the frustration of many busy people who used to call the Department of Licensing and get a busy signal.
You’ve shown state job applicants that we’re interested in people-hiring, not holding- patterns.
Because of you, our kids are safer on school busses.
Because of you, the people most in need of drug or alcohol treatment now have hope for recovery.
Because of you, we’re recovering unemployment benefit overpayments to those not entitled to receive them at a very low cost to the state.
Career schools can spend more time on educating and less on licensing.
Our state patrol will be housed in the facility they need and at a profit to the state, thanks to you.
And the earthquake damaged Deschutes Parkway was repaired under budget and ahead of schedule, thanks to you.
Your stories are inspiring. It is clear that you continue to find ways to use taxpayer resources wisely and well.
The judges in this round were very impressed by three things.
First, the partnerships you forged. With developers, with schools, with each other. You clearly understand the power of partnering and leveraging respective strengths and resources. All to get a better product and better outcome for taxpayers.
Second, the judges noted the preventive steps you took. Where research showed early treatment could save medical costs, or how working with kids would break the cycle of crime, you found creative ways to act on it. Prevention means more than reducing the financial burden, although that’s a benefit reflected in preventive measures. The larger benefit lies in reducing the human costs, and the costs to our communities
Finally, your performance orientation is very evident. The people in this room—and your teammates who couldn’t join us—have a great habit of saying: “Let’s do this the right way!”
Your projects are case studies in doing things the right way, instead of just giving in to “the way we’ve always done things.” You’ve benchmarked your approaches against industry. You’ve brought children into contact with their incarcerated fathers. You’ve brought complex projects in under budget and ahead of schedule. All because you’ve dared to try doing things the right way instead of the old way.
I congratulate all of our award winning teams. One of the biggest challenges we face now is getting the word out. The public deserves to know about the great work that you do. These displays and your presentations to our judges are a first step in that direction.
These are the approaches that will make your stories more engaging to the average citizen. In this age of public distrust, it’s important for us to remember that misconceptions can hurt us. You know you’re doing an exceptional job. But if we don’t communicate your progress and achievements effectively, the citizens of our state may never realize how hard and how well you work for them.
We have a long road ahead of us in restoring citizen trust in government. Projects like the ones I’ve seen today are a great step forward in showing that we’ve earned the public trust. But we must share these stories and spread the word.
I'd like to thank the judges for their time and effort in carefully reviewing these projects. I’d also like to thank the managers and co-workers and staff who contributed to the successes we celebrate today. And thanks to everyone for being a part of our state government team—the best state government team in America.