March | April 2017

How Can Policymakers Partner to
Increase Efficiency in State Government?


Make Data Available, Usable

Trey Grayson
Director, Institute of Politics | Harvard University
Former Kentucky Secretary of State
2004 CSG Toll Fellow
“In a successful partnership, all partners need to possess similar information. Executive branch officials can encourage a productive partnership with legislators by putting as much information and data as possible online and in a user-friendly standard format that can be readily utilized. This will not only empower the legislature to identify efficiencies, it will empower citizens to do the same. This transparency should go beyond detailed financial information, and should also include data across a range of executive branch operations.”

Improve Collaboration, Communication

Andrea Maresca
Director of Federal Policy and Strategy
National Association of Medicaid Directors
“Defining Medicaid program integrity as simply fighting fraud, waste and abuse is obsolete. States and the federal government must approach program integrity more holistically to reflect the changing realities of health care delivery. First, improving collaboration and communication between federal and state officials could dramatically alter the effectiveness of Medicaid program integrity efforts and the overall efficiency of the program. Also, Medicare needs to heed the states’ call to leverage resources and information across the programs. Finally, executive and legislative officials should develop and target program integrity tools on state-specific vulnerabilities and program inefficiencies, rather than falling back on one-size-fits-all approaches that waste valuable resources.”

Rally Around Good Government

Richard Sliwoski
Director | Virginia Department of General Services
2012 CSG Toll Fellow
“It’s just rallying around the goal of good government. We’re so bifurcated now and so polarized that they need to come back and understand, and this is what I tell my people, that not everything that comes out of my mouth is a pearl of wisdom so I expect to be challenged, but in a civil manner. Try to work out and understand the other side’s point of view. … I will expound my position, but I’ll always listen to the other side, because I’m not always right. There’s always a different point of view and you can always find common ground.”

Communicate with Honesty, Transparency

J.B. Van Hollen
Wisconsin Attorney General
“I think it really starts with a number of character traits, such as transparency, honesty, courage, communication—and it’s a combination of all of them that is really required. First of all, you really have to be willing to make the tough decisions, to make cuts and to be efficient as possible. … You really have to be able to communicate exactly what you’re doing. … We want to make sure that the legislature, the executive branch, the general public, the media are aware of what we’re doing within the Department of Justice and why we’re doing it so that they can better understand, hold us accountable and give us reinforcements for positive behavior.”

Partner Through Oversight

Elaine M. Howle
California State Auditor
2013 President, National State Auditors Association
Selected as one of Governing magazine’s 2012 Public Officials of the Year
“Oversight is one function that easily allows for partnering. Why? Because regardless of whether you are a legislative or executive branch official, you strive for the same thing—to spend money wisely to make government work and have a positive impact on people’s lives. Sure there are different ways to get there, but working together to assess government operations allows for a system of checks and balances. Are the laws helping government work effectively or are they creating obstacles? Do the processes achieve the intended purpose of the law and at what cost? Partnering through oversight helps officials address those questions and implement needed improvements.”