Wash. consolidation efforts would create Dept. of Enterprise Services

In what is surely to become a trend, the state of Washington became the second in as many weeks to announce consolidation and realignment plans within its administrative branch. According to Gov. Gregoire’s proposal, she intends to reduce the number of state agencies from 21 to 9 to save $30 million over the next biennium.

Similar to North Carolina’s proposed restructuring plan, consolidation of IT assets and resources will play a central role in generating savings, details of the plan indicated.

In an announcement alongside the Transforming Washington’s Budget committee, Gov. Gregoire said the next two-year budget will be dominated by painful cuts, but that they are necessary to address the state’s $4.6 billion budget gap. “[W]e must put forward to the Legislature transformative ideas,” she said.

The plans consolidations will be concentrated on natural resource agencies, central services, and correctional services. The governor also vowed to eliminate 30 percent of the states boards and commissions, eliminating 143 of them.

The most cost savings is expected to come from the creation of a new Department of Enterprise Services. According to the governor’s projects, by consolidating the Departments of General Administration, Personnel, Printing, and portions of the Department of Information Services and the Office of Financial Management merge into a new agency, the state will save just over $18 million.

The department will provide “back office” services currently being duplicated by the three agencies independently. OFM will continue to perform policy, budget, forecasting and labor relations and DIS will continue to provide computing services, telecommunications, network administration and security services, the proposal indicated.

“At the new department, we will emphasize competition to get the best price for critical services,” Gregoire said.

For more on Gov. Gregoire’s consolidation plan, click here.