Oregon's executive branch is a bureaucratic puzzle. Each department has a specific domain, but often issues cross over from one to another, and another after that. Take an energy tax credit. That sort of thing has ramifications in the energy department (obviously) but also the revenue department (they collect the taxes -- or not, as the case may be) and the environment department (energy usage affects environmental goals.).
During his 2010 campaign, Gov. John Kitzhaber told voters that he would work to integrate these various agencies -- specifically as they applied to energy and environmental issues. Here"s what he said: "I will also create the authority to integrate all state policies and programs, such as transportation, energy, agriculture, land use planning and others, that have relevance to climate change and energy issues."
Since we gave a Promise Kept to his goal of developing a 10-year energy and climate change plan, we thought it might be worth looking into how he was doing on this front as well.
We spoke to Margi Hoffmann, the governor"s energy policy adviser to see what exactly has changed in the governor's office over the past year and a half.
A lot of it, she says, boils down to policy advisers who work with the state agencies to coordinate their efforts. Hoffmann handles energy while others work on workforce development, environmental, national, transportation and land use issues, among others.
When something comes up, say a new tax proposal or a land use discussion, "we'll pull all relative agencies into that conversation,” Hoffman says. The state's plans for an innovation lab, for example, drew on input from every single bureaucracy. The governor"s recent energy and environmental plan also came out of work the policy advisers helped coordinate.
That all sounds fine to us. But given how amorphous this promise is, we want to wait and see how this set-up progresses and what sorts of tangible results -- programs, plans, decision making -- this sort of network ultimately produces.
For now we"ll rate this promise In The Works and keep an eye on its progress.