Monday, July 12, 2010

Get to Work, Mr. Governor

Cross-posted to

OK, Mr. Governor.  You bullied the Legislature and now you have your fershluggener cap on property taxes.   While you got your political points, you really did not do much to help New Jersey residents.  At the same time, you have ensured that the services, infrastructure, and attractiveness of New Jersey will deteriorate more rapidly.  You did nothing on the spending side other than make arbitrary cuts – geez, a six-year-old could do the same thing.

When will you get down to the hard work of governing?  Yes – the state is in a budget crisis, but your simplistic approach will just make things worse.  Why don’t you use your humongous bully pulpit to implement real change?  Like any complex system, effective change can’t happen overnight, nor do simplistic solutions work.  The state is crying out for revolutionary change, not incremental ones. 

Let’s start with consolidation – both municipal and for schools.  No one said it would be easy.   There are too many embedded interests who will throw roadblocks in the way of their pet fiefdoms.   Doing it right will be hard.  There are areas where consolidation savings will be minimal, but based on my experience, I suspect that there’s enough low hanging fruit out there that could reduce state expenditures by at least 20% with the right approach.  It will require a tough SOB to make this happen against the built up inertia in our government – are you man enough to tackle that one?  Or are you just content to score political points by continuing on with simplistic approaches?

There are those who say that government should be run like a business.  That’s crap.  Governments are there to serve the people; businesses exist to make a profit.  Yet, there’s one aspect of business that enlightened governments have successfully adopted – the embrace of Six-Sigma practices to systematically root out waste in our processes.  This is also not easy, because it requires a change in the culture of the people affected.  It should be run as a campaign and will take several years.  As with consolidation, there will be the naysayers who preach “we’ve always done it this way.”  But the results can be astounding.

So, Mr. Governor, take your victory lap but remember that you’ve only done the easy part of your job.  Now, get to work.

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