Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Governor’s Quality Awards
November 29, 2004

Good afternoon. Welcome to the Governor’s Awards for Quality and Performance. Thanks to Mary Campbell and to the judges and screening panel.

It has been a great honor and privilege to serve as your governor the past eight years. I am very proud of all that we’ve been able to accomplish together for Washington. These accomplishments include significant improvements in government efficiency and accessibility.

The improvements we’ve made in state government are a direct reflection of our outstanding state workforce. I believe Washington has the top state employee team in the country.

This isn’t just my opinion. We have the national recognition and awards to prove it. Each time the award has been given in the last seven years, we’ve been named one of the top five managed states in America. We’ve received first place in the Digital State Government Awards three years. Twice, we placed second. And recently we were named the number one local or state government in the country by the National Policy Research Council.

Many states have visited your operations to learn more from you. That’s why I always look forward to presenting these awards. This is a great opportunity to focus on just some of the outstanding work that is done by Washington state employees.

Eight years ago, I challenged agencies to adopt proven management principles to improve service delivery. I am constantly impressed with the innovation and commitment that you have demonstrated.

Each time I review these projects, I see some common themes that emerge; we can all learn from the work of these teams about the best practices that they have applied and the results they have achieved. In this round, three things jump out for me as lessons learned.

First, government must engage others in the community to be successful. Many of these projects would not have been as successful without the support of the community. L&I needs the help of honest contractors to level the playing field. Amber Alerts cannot be effective without the participation of the law enforcement community and citizens at all levels. Getting people back to work is not something that Employment Security can do on its own – it needs the private sector.

Second, technology is critical to making service delivery more efficient and more accessible. Licensing was able to cut the UCC turnaround time to 1/9, the usual time using the Internet. Revenue's data warehouse has given them the capacity to cross-match information and bring in millions of additional revenue each year. And the Lottery used improved technology to keep tickets available for sale.

And third, ultimately, public service is about service to citizens, especially those who are most vulnerable. El Protector shows us how effective we can be when we reach out to those we serve, instead of waiting for them to come to us. By reaching out to veterans, DSHS connected many families with the benefits they were owed and saved money for the state. And Department of Health's child registry helps ensure that children are protected against disease and keeps the entire Washington community safer from outbreaks.

These are important lessons for all of us.

The projects we’re recognizing today have one other critical characteristic in common. They are all examples of caring about and helping people. This is the most important lesson of all. We are at our best when we remember our fundamental purpose—to serve the public and help people.

You should be proud of all you do for our citizens. There are those who talk about public sector employment as if it were something to be ashamed of. As if working in government makes you oblivious to effective, efficient service delivery and management practices. But projects like these show the commitment we have made to making government even more effective. And individuals like you prove that public sector employees deserve respect and admiration.

As I leave office, I take comfort in the knowledge that people like you are on the job every day, looking for opportunities to deliver service to our citizens and to do so more effectively. So be proud of what you’ve accomplished.

I'm proud of you, and I am proud of what we have done together. Thank you for a job well-done, and keep up the outstanding work.

And thank you to our judges and the screening panel for taking the time to give all of our exceptional entries the careful consideration that they deserve.

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