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4/29/2014

Governor Corbett Announces Over One Half-Billion Dollars in Savings through State Government Innovation

News for Immediate Release

April 29, 2014

Governor Corbett Announces Over One Half-Billion Dollars in Savings through State Government Innovation

Harrisburg – Governor Tom Corbett announced today that state agencies have saved over $650 million through innovations aimed at improving customer service, reducing costs, and eliminating inefficiency in state government.

“State government is performing more efficiently and effectively than it has in many years,” Corbett said. “Administrative spending is down 10 percent, and through the efforts of commonwealth employees, we continue to find new ways to improve how government operates. We are working hard to build a stronger Pennsylvania.”

Since 2011, state agencies have completed over 200 cost-saving or cost-avoidance initiatives that have saved more than $650 million so far. Nearly all state agencies have contributed ideas to the commonwealth’s cost saving efforts. Some of those individual agency cost-saving ideas include: 

Department of General Services – reduced state passenger vehicle fleet by nearly 20 percent, saving over $50 million.

Department of Labor & Industry – using PA Justice Network to help identify county inmates attempting to collect unemployment compensation, saving over $100 million.

PennDOT – utilizing state-of-the-art technology to increase accuracy and efficiency in conducting field surveys, saving $1.3 million.

Public Utility Commission – eliminated paper filing requirements and made more information available electronically, saving $23,000 per month on paper and printing.

Department of Conservation & Natural Resources – expanded use of citizen volunteers in state parks to greet visitors, maintain trail and other projects, saving $9.4 million.

Office of Administration – implemented award-winning online orientation process for new hires, saving $1 million.

Currently 185 additional projects are underway with the potential for even more savings.  Many of the innovation ideas were submitted through state employees.

Following today’s press conference, Gov. Corbett recognized 10 teams of employees who have saved a combined total of $51 million in the last year.

To learn more about innovation in state government, see total savings by state agency, or to submit your own idea, visit the Governor’s Innovation Office website at www.innovation.pa.gov

Editor’s note:

Following the formal press event, Governor Corbett took part in an employee awards ceremony to honor employees whose innovation ideas were implemented in the past year.

Awards were presented for the following projects:

Telecommunications Modernization
Office of Administration (OA)

OA replaced the outdated telecommunications infrastructure used by agencies under the governor’s jurisdiction with Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP), meaning that all phone calls travel across the commonwealth’s data network.  The new technology is more reliable, easier to support and reduces long-distance costs.  Integrated software for web conferencing, ad-hoc conference calls and other features help improve collaboration and productivity. The new system is saving approximately $27 million annually. 

Disaster Annuitant Reserve Corps
Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA)

When a natural disaster strikes, PEMA calls upon retired state employees who are already trained in recovery efforts to assist. Previously, PEMA would rely on employees from other agencies or hire contractors to perform this work.  As the projects are completed and the caseload diminishes, the retirees are deactivated until the next disaster. This approach costs approximately $1 million less per month during a disaster response, and has resulted in cumulative savings of over $22 million. 

Field Surveying Technology Improvements
PennDOT

PennDOT is using state-of-the-art techniques to increase the productivity of its field surveyors.  By using cell phone towers, GPS satellites and other infrastructure to provide “virtual” reference points, and transmitting data to a remote computer via satellite, survey operations that previously required two or more staff and significant processing work can be done today by a single person.  The improvements have saved PennDOT $1.3 million.

Field Paperwork Streamlining
Pennsylvania Board of Probation & Parole (PBPP)

PBPP leveraged technology and employee collaboration to streamline field paperwork and modernize processes, including arrest procedures, reports and other forms.  For example, agents used to be required to carry hardcopy field books.  Today, these books are stored, carried and accessed electronically via laptops in the field.  These efforts have saved PBPP over $428,000 in their first year. 

Regulatory Bureau Streamlining
Insurance Department

The Insurance Department consolidated its Bureau of Life Insurance and Bureau of Accident and Health Insurance in order to achieve operational efficiencies, promote knowledge sharing and improve customer service.  Although the bureaus performed similar work, they could not share staff and other resources. The new bureau has saved $400,000 through staffing efficiencies and enhanced collaboration.

Reduction in Paper Filings and Use of e-Filing

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC)


The PUC has eliminated regulatory requirements to submit multiple copies (anywhere from three to 15 copies) of filings to the commission.  The PUC has also implemented a comprehensive case and document management system that allows staff and external users to electronically access filings.  The “Paperless PUC” initiative is saving over $250,000 annually. 

License Simplification for Older Adult Daily Living Centers/Adult Training Facilities

Department of Aging

There are approximately 100 facilities in Pennsylvania that are licensed by the Department of Aging and the Department of Public Welfare.  Rather than have both agencies conduct similar inspections of the same facilities, the Aging Department now allows these facilities to apply for a waiver from its inspections. To date, approximately 80 facilities have applied for the waiver, saving the department over $150,000 annually.

Consolidation of Corporations and Charities Bureaus
Department of State

The majority of charities registered in Pennsylvania are non-profit corporations. By combining the Corporations Bureau and the Bureau of Charitable Organizations, the Department of State was able to streamline processes, cut expenditures, and consolidate the registration functions of the two bureaus to save $130,000 annually.

Refrigerated Enforcement Detail (Operation Code R.E.D.)

Department of Agriculture & Pennsylvania State Police

Under state law, the Agriculture Department has the authority to inspect refrigerated food trucks, but not to pull them over. By teaming up with State Police for targeted enforcement efforts, Operation Code R.E.D. strengthens the department’s ability to ensure that the foods that the public purchases from restaurants and retailers arrive safe and fresh. The initiative has also trained State Police troopers on proper food sanitation on refrigerated trucks, giving them the knowledge to identify food code violations and issue citations.

Adopt PA Kids Mobile Website
Department of Public Welfare (DPW)

Recognizing that nearly 40 percent of all visits to the Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN) website, adoptpakids.org, are from mobile devices, and that the website did not perform well on these devices, DPW launched a mobile-friendly version.  The mobile website is more user-friendly for families and also allows child welfare workers to use the website while visiting prospective or approved adoptive families. 

Media contact

Steve Chizmar, Governor’s Office, 717-783-1116

Dan Egan, Office of Administration, 717-772-4237

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