Pennsylvania state officials are encouraging government employees to figure out ways to spend less money and work more efficiently.
Gov. Tom Corbett put out the call for “innovation initiatives” in March, and so far, 130 are in progress. Six employees this summer earned recognition from the governor. The significant results of their ideas:
- Cutting the time it takes construction companies to obtain highway occupancy permits from a month to 10 days by allowing them to apply for permits online instead of in person. The state is looking at the new system for other permits as well.
- Saving $2 million a year by requiring state employees to submit receipts for every expense on travel reimbursement requests. Previously, travelers had to show receipts only for high-dollar expenses. Employees in three departments worked together to make the change, which also lowered the mileage reimbursement rate. Employees are also now required to choose the most cost-effective vehicle for business trips—a fleet vehicle, a rental car or a personal car or truck.
- Whittling the time it takes staff to prepare files for welfare benefits appeals by 80 hours a month by sending transcripts electronically. Employees used to have to photocopy, collate, organize, pack and send hundreds of documents for every court case. Bonus: The court receives the files within a week of opening a case, much faster than the previous eight weeks.
- Redirecting about $200,000 per year in former administrative costs to programs that directly help prevent sexually transmitted diseases. The savings resulted when providers were allowed to accept payment directly from a patient’s insurance company rather than filing claims with the state.
Contact: Dan Egan in the Office of the Governor, (717) 772-4237.