Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Walk-O-Meter

Require cabinet to hold "brown bag lunches" with employees to find waste, fraud and abuse


Will require cabinet to hold "brown bag lunches" with employees to identify waste, fraud and abuse. “As part of my Waste, Fraud and Abuse Commission to find $300 million of savings for the taxpayers, I will issue an executive order requiring my cabinet secretaries to hold regular brown bag lunches with frontline workers to help identify cost savings and more efficient ways of providing services.”


Updates

Sometimes the boss even buys lunch

When we last visited this promise, Gov. Scott Walker had issued an executive order on the matter. We checked up on the follow through and found cabinet secretaries have held numerous brown bag sessions with employees in the last year.

From memos provided by the state Department of Administration, we learned all kinds of fun stuff about the meetings. The sessions weren't just about rooting out fraud, as advertised. Workers also had ideas about running a smoother ship.

And the boss even sprang for lunch at some of them.

"Secretary (Stephanie) Klett personally purchased pizza on two occasions: during the holiday season and following a busy stretch of work in the spring,” a Department of Tourism memo said. "Other times, staff brought their own lunches.”

Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp and her top aides heard a bunch of efficiency ideas, including streamlining state waterway permitting procedures, wetland regulations, air permits for minor sources, small local road projects and public noticing provisions.

Workers at the agency suggested "reducing fleet rates, lease and rental costs, and personal mileage reimbursement.”

Some of the ideas were about doing more, not less.

"The DNR is increasing its over-the counter customer service presence by over 40 percent, focused primarily in the northern half of the state where citizens have less options and poorer internet access. Completed Feb. 2012.”

Revenue Secretary Richard Chandler held bimonthly "Chats with Chandler” and was told that:

- Better computer keyboards could help workers type faster.

- White noise in a meeting room could boost privacy.

- More nameplates at the front reception desk at one office could help customer service.

You get the idea.

Walker ordered his top managers to talk to the rank and file about better government and these gatherings have happened.

We"re moving this one to Promise Kept.

Sources:

Interview with Jocelyn Webster, spokeswoman, Department of Administration, Feb. 1, 2012

Memos from Revenue, DNR and Tourism officials, January 2012

Order has been issued; too early to say how often the meetings take place

Scott Walker campaigned as a guy who carried a brown bag lunch to work as Milwaukee County executive. He tried to turn that bit of symbolism into a "Brown Bag Movement” to reform state government.

He promised to require his top aides to hold regular "brown bag lunches” with employees to identify waste and abuse in state government. He hasn"t forgotten the promise: He issued an executive order to his administration to follow through.

We"ll watch to see if they do so, and how often.

For now, we"ll rate it In the Works.

Sources:

Gov. Scott Walker, news release, Jan. 21, 2011