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State Employees Leading the Way in Government Reform

November 17, 2011
Governor Dayton Announces Better Government For a Better Minnesota Award Winners
St. Paul - Today, Governor Mark Dayton announced the first Better Government for a Better Minnesota award winners.  When he took office in January, Governor Dayton made the continuous improvement of government services one of his administration’s top priorities.  These awards recognize the critical role that state employees have in building a culture of continuous improvement in state government.  
Attached Photos: Governor Mark Dayton and Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans congratulate the Department of Revenue Electronic Check Processing Team for saving Minnesota taxpayers $1 million in check processing costs by working together to figure out how to move to a system of electronic check processing.  Photo #1 and Photo #2.
The award winners in each category are: 
Agency Awards 
Department of Health Newborn Screening Long Term Follow-up Unit 
Team Members: Laura Briske, Nicole Brown, Nicole Brys,Kristen Coverstone, Barb Dalbec, Jamie Joyce, Yaoli Li, Mary Navara, Abbie Rotari.  
For significantly shortening the time new parents need to wait for results of their newborn hearing test.   The state of Minnesota screens about 73,000 newborn babies each year for hearing loss.  A very small proportion of babies have a problem, and the Department of Health follows up with those families to provide information about treatment options.  It used to take almost 60 days for parents to hear back about test results, but thanks to the improvements this team devised, the wait time has been cut in half.  
Department of Revenue Electronic Check Processing Team  
Team Members: Roxanne Smetana, Kathy Bradshaw, Nancy Rose, Lisa Wilson, Mark Kleppe, John Wottrich, Sandy Long, Sue Bombardo, Jean Jochim, Julie Boje, Kandy Hedlund, Kristen Schroeder, Brian Thesing, Virginia Adler, Jim Biggs, Kurt Rud, Cynthia Rowley 
For saving Minnesota taxpayers $1 million in check processing costs.  When their old machines for processing payments needed replacing, this team figured out how to move to a system of electronic check processing, which produced a one-time savings of $1,000,000.  The new system was used as a model to help other agencies develop similar improvements.  
Individual Award 
Harley Olinske, Department of Agriculture 
Harley Olinske enacted several meaningful procedural changes to the licensing programs at MDA that allow producers, dealers and wholesalers of grain and produce to sell their products. His work resulted in much faster license renewals, and now nearly all renewals are completed within 30 days of submission. His work saved the department $300,000 annually, saved staff time, and simplified the process for applications.  
Collaboration Award 
Department of Natural Resources and Department of Transportation Conservation Assistance and Regulation and Environmental Stewardship Teams 
Team Members: Peter Leete (DNR), Frank Pafko (MnDOT), Jason Alcott (MnDOT), Julie Ekman (DNR), Rich Baker (DNR), Steve Colvin (DNR) 
For working together to reduce construction delays on MnDOT projects.   When construction projects on bridges and roadways take place near public waters, projects must meet both Mn/DOT work standards and DNR environmental standards.  These two agencies formed an interagency collaboration and laid out best practices manual for meeting both sets of requirements.  The result has been reduced delays for construction projects and better compliance with work and environmental standards.
Last month, Minnesotans began to see the benefits of a government focused on finding more efficient and better ways to serve its citizens with the launch of the “Better Government for a Better Minnesota” initiative.