News release from Tennessee Democratic Party:
NASHVILLE — Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester wants the state elections chief held accountable for the high-profile mistakes seen in the Presidential Primary. Forrester is calling for top-to-bottom review of the Primary Election and the state election office to address a pattern of serious errors that denied voters access to the polls and even disenfranchised a former U.S. Congressman and his wife.
“There has to be accountability in government, and when there are this many mistakes, accountability starts at the top,” Forrester said. “Secretary of State Tre Hargett and State Election Coordinator Mark Goins have decided that attacking the victims of their incompetence is more important than doing their jobs, which is to ensure every eligible voter has the opportunity to exercise their constitutional right to vote.”
By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee correction officials say a proposal to transfer certain services from the Board of Probation and Parole to the Department of Correction will save thousands of dollars and improve public safety.
The legislation would move certain functions relating to probation and parole services and the community corrections program, which assists victims and offers more options to local courts, to the Correction Department.
The transfer is expected to “result in increased stability, increased efficiency and continuity of supervision delivery and rehabilitative efforts,” according to the proposal, which passed the Senate 32-0 earlier this month.
The companion bill is scheduled for the House Finance Committee on Tuesday.
Correction Commissioner Derrick Schofield said the move would save the state about $714,000 in the first year. While the savings is important, he said the state wants to provide the best supervision and services for offenders so they don’t come back into the system.
Gov. Bill Haslam’s “top-to-bottom” review of state government is complete, he announced in an open letter Wednesday. The results are available online HERE. And here’s the letter:
Over the past year, each commissioner of state government’s 22 departments conducted a top to bottom review to thoroughly analyze operational and organizational efficiency. I tasked each of them to examine his/her department as if starting from scratch by challenging the current structure and functions and by asking: “Is this department focused appropriately to accomplish its core mission?”
State government’s role is to provide services that taxpayers can’t get on their own. I believe the governor’s job is to make sure we’re providing those services in the most customer-friendly way and at the lowest cost to you, the taxpayer.
Uncertainty out of Washington, fiscal constraints, and higher demands require us to transform the way we do government in Tennessee, and Tennesseans expect us to do more with less.
Through this comprehensive review, our departments are taking an important step toward meeting that goal by establishing a culture of customer service, efficiency and effectiveness.
The ideas and recommendations contained in this report reflect extensive efforts by hard-working state employees throughout the Executive Branch. Departments solicited input from thousands of stakeholders both inside and outside of state government and worked through an array of issues ranging from reducing the number of printers in state offices to organizational shifts of entire divisions.
We believe this process will result in meaningful change to the benefit of Tennessee taxpayers. While this Top to Bottom Review process is complete, this administration will continue on an ongoing basis to evaluate and improve efficiency and effectiveness in the way we deliver services.
By Eric Schelzig, Associated Press
MORRISTOWN, Tenn. — The Haslam administration’s project to reduce regulation and make Tennessee friendlier to business is still gathering data and it will be late in the year before a set of recommendations is ready.
Republican Gov. Bill Haslam promised a top-to-bottom review of regulations soon after taking office in January, saying that cutting regulation would help deliver jobs and reduce the state’s nearly 10 percent unemployment rate.
Haslam said after a recent business round table that the project is taking so long “just due to the number of areas” state government regulates, and trying to determine whether existing regulations are justified.
“Most of those things were there for good reasons, so we want to make certain that we’re not just throwing something out as part of the process,” Haslam said.
While each department has been assigned a “top-to-bottom” review, the Economic and Community Development Department has taken on the highest profile.
ECD Commissioner Bill Hagerty has joined the governor on a series of statewide roundtables to discuss business regulation and incentives. Hagerty has said expects to finish the information gathering by the end of this month. A full report to the governor is expected this fall.
Hagerty said his department is working on what he called “regulatory opportunities” at the federal, state and local levels.
“Streamlining and making business-friendly environments is good for all of us,” he said.
News release from Department of Finance and Administration:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s top-to-bottom review of state government is resulting in greater efficiency and cost savings in state property management with the merger of two closely-related state divisions. Real Property Administration will be combined with Property Services Management in the Department of General Services. To date, Real Property has been located in Finance & Administration.
“An effective state government is one that provides core services, is responsive to citizens and operates at the lowest possible cost,” Haslam said. “The benefits of merging these two areas became obvious to us early in our review to achieve more effective service and upkeep of state properties, and ultimately significant cost savings in state operations.”
In his inaugural address, the governor pledged to conduct a top to bottom review of each state department to set priorities and establish measurable goals. He called on each cabinet member to take a hard look at state operations to ensure that the best service is being delivered in the most efficient manner.
“Governor Haslam challenged me to really look at overhauling the way we manage our real estate assets, and this structural change is simply the beginning of that process,” General Services Commissioner Steve Cates said. “It just makes sense to bring together people whose duties are so closely related, and I know we’ll see positive results in short order.”
Real Property Administration, with 63 full-time positions, is responsible for all capital improvements and construction, serving to develop the state’s capital initiatives and real property assets. It is the implementation arm of the State Building Commission, responsible for all capital improvements. Property Services Management has 189 employees and operates, manages, and maintains state facilities. The division also administers comprehensive policies and procedures for the management of state-owned and leased facilities statewide.
“From the very beginning of his administration, Governor Haslam charged us to look for ways to be more effective and efficient,” Finance and Administration Commissioner Mark Emkes said. “Commissioner Cates’ strong real estate background brings significant value to this process, and we will all work to help make this a successful transition.”
The Department of General Services facilitates the operation of state government in the areas of procurement, facility management, motor vehicle and equipment management, postal services, warehousing, records management and similar services.
There are 16 state office building complexes across Tennessee, with 376 leased buildings and 135 state-owned buildings.