Better management can move the state forward
By WINK HARTMAN
Two words which seem to petrify a lot but which should not be the efficiency of the government.
Government efficiency is not a means of making cuts that do not allow government to function. Rather, it is a way to save costs and to rethink how government works so that government works better for the people. Government efficiency means innovation, better management and improved service for Kansans.
Over the past year, we have seen many instances where better management was needed in our state government. Who can forget the failures of the Kansas Department of Labor in chronic computer system failures and inability for people to access customer service? It was and still is unacceptable behavior for the government of our state.
Better management in state government could have avoided many of the problems we faced over the past year. Call centers could have been staffed quickly. Thinking outside the box could have been used. Employees could have received cross-training and moved from one function to another to fill in the gaps. Everything that happened in the past year should serve as a warning to the Kansans that we need to change the way state government is run.
We must make the management and efficiency of government top priorities for our state. We need to look at all aspects of state government and determine if we are getting the best bang for our buck. We need to look for ways to innovate certain aspects of our state government in order to solve management problems. We can look at ways to combine services and train employees.
How can we better use technology in the service of Kansans? Can we move more services online and create easy-to-use web portals and smartphone apps to get things done? Obviously, this will require a better information technology system than the one we have now. But I hope last year’s computer failures will show the need to invest in modern computer systems.
In the private sector, we must constantly look for ways to innovate and be effective. We need to stay ahead of the crowd and find better ways to serve our customers. Take the example of personal banking services. The advent of ATMs in the 1970s enabled banking services to better serve customers by allowing easy 24-hour withdrawals and deposits, a system made even easier today by online banking. .
At the same time, ATMs have made in-person banking services more efficient. Teller lines got shorter as people used ATMs for fast transactions and teller machines for more complicated ones. Cashiers could serve more customers every hour and get people out of the bank faster, thus giving customers time.
Government innovation can easily work for our state. We can facilitate residents’ access to government services at all levels. Government effectiveness must be part of any innovation process because it can show us what we can innovate faster and how best to innovate.
Government efficiency can also save us money in the long run by tackling redundant management measures or practices that have spent more than they should. This money can be used either to offset a tax hike or to fund a tax deduction.
Better management can help move our state forward.
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Wink Hartman is the CEO of the Hartman Group of Companies in Wichita and the 2018 Republican candidate for lieutenant governor.