Candidates like to talk a rather big game about cutting waste in government or making sure government is “efficient”. In the end, not much changes because these candidates do not have any experience in fiscal analysis. During my time as a budget analyst for the Maryland General Assembly, I recommended an entire unit of government to be zeroed out. You read that right. I testified in front of the very Democratic Maryland General Assembly and recommended that the Democratic Governor’s signature initiative, the Office for Smart Growth, not be funded. Why? The Department of Planning was already doing most of the work assigned the Office for Smart Growth and what work it wasn’t currently doing could be absorbed by existing staff. When I compared the legislation creating the Office for Smart Growth with the Department of Planning’s legislation, I realized they were essentially the same. The General Assembly didn’t take my entire recommendation, but did significantly cut the unit. In two years, the Office no longer existed. Here’s my analysis: FY02 Office for Smart Growth.
When people talk about uncovering waste in government, how do people unfamiliar with the ins and outs in government actually do that? How do people with limited fiscal experience make sure government is working efficiently for you? While candidates may be passionate about some issues, finding ones that can actually affect change is difficult. While reviewing the fiscal 2002 budget request from the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP), I discovered that the department had accumulated a nearly $3 million deficit by inflating the revenues it received from selling various mapping products. MDP subsequently made substantial changes to its personnel and budgeting policies and procedures. You can read my analysis here: Planning FY02 I have changed your government for the better.
My whole career I have tried to make every unit that I worked for operate efficiently. In 2014, I was nominated for a Board of Regent’s Staff award by the University of Maryland, College Park in the ‘Effectiveness and Efficiency in Academic or Administrative Transformation” category.
If you want change, real change, you have to elect someone who knows the budget numbers, how they work, and how to make them work for our benefit. Too many politicians talk about efficiency. I’m not a politician. I want government to work efficiently and I know how to get it done.