WYPR: Streamlining state government

Editor’s note: The following commentary aired on WYPR.org on May 24, 2016.

Governor Larry Hogan’s recent decision to establish an office to update and streamline state government is welcome news.

The governor should be applauded for recognizing the importance of taking a hard look at the government’s existing structure and operations and finding ways to improve efficiency and customer service.

If you’ll recall, Governor Hogan was swept into office on a tide of voters who agreed with his call for change. By taking a fresh look at state government operations he is making good on his promise to address the size and cost of state government.

According to the governor, Maryland has 20 executive branch cabinet departments, 70 independent agencies and 550 commissions and boards. Full and part-time state employees numbered more than 46,000 in 2015.

As these figures show, Maryland’s government is large and complex. Any attempt to reform a large and complex operation is hard work and requires tenacity.

Fortunately, the governor made a wise move in the selection of the person to lead this effort in his choice of Robert Neall. A former county executive and state legislator, Neall, like the Governor, has private sector experience.

I’ve known Bobby Neall for more than 20 years as a colleague and friend. We served together in the Maryland General Assembly. As news reports noted, Neall has a strong grasp of the state budget and is skilled at sizing up big organizations.

By establishing the commission and putting Neall in the quarterback’s seat, the governor has set the stage for a golden opportunity to revamp Maryland’s government and bring about improved efficiency, customer service and fiscal management.

I’m Don Fry, President and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee.

Listen to the commentary here.

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