Indiana government has lost more than 1,500 workers in the past year, and that’s a good thing, according to Republican
Gov. Mitch Daniels.
Daniels recently touted the fact that Indiana is operating with about 4,800 fewer state employees
compared with when he took office in January 2005.
"We believe that state government had more employees than
it had to have to do a good job or even a better job," Daniels said. "It’s simply our policy that government should
be as lean as it can be and still be very effective."
The number of full-time state employees has dropped
from more than 35,000 to about 30,500, about a 14 percent reduction.
That is one of the highest percentage changes
in the nation, according to a survey by the National Association of State Budget Officers.
The reductions have
been made through reorganization, attrition, efficiencies and privatizing services, state officials said.
state agencies such as the Department of Correction, Family and Social Services Administration and Bureau of Motor Vehicles
have seen some of the biggest changes. But some agencies — like the lieutenant governor’s office — increased.
That office grew from 10 employees to 63 after several departments transferred in 2005 from the old Department of
Commerce, including the Department of Energy, Community and Rural Affairs and Department of Tourism.
GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne, said reducing state employment isn’t bad if it doesn’t affect the level of service.
would only be concerned if it would radically decrease the level of services that people expect," GiaQuinta said. "If
you can streamline and the services are still there, I don’t have a problem with it."
That hasn’t always been
The state fired IBM Corp. in October as the lead contractor on an ambitious, $1.34 billion project to
automate applications for food stamps, Medicaid and other welfare benefits handled by the FSSA. The state acted after receiving
numerous complaints about service.
Officials like to point to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles as an example of how
to streamline while improving customer satisfaction. The agency is down 432 employees or nearly 20 percent, but has decreased
wait times and drawn more favorable responses in customer surveys.
Improved technology is behind much of the change,
Commissioner Andy Miller said. For instance, the more Hoosiers use the online system, the fewer branch clerks are needed.
The agency also closed about 30 license branches, transferring some of those staff members to other areas.
are very happy that we were surgical and proactive in doing this over the last few years," Miller said. "And we
are careful that our budget reflects the cuts. We’ve realized significant savings."