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For the latest news and information relating to the work of the Minnesota Department of Admin, see the news release listing below. Past news releases can be accessed using the archive links at right.

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State Government Problem Solvers are Recognized for Innovative Solutions that Improve Government Services

12/13/2018 3:52:40 PM

ST. PAUL – State employees were honored today at the Governor’s Better Government Awards, which recognize the best of the many innovations in state government each year. These initiatives improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government services for Minnesotans in three categories: Great Customer Service, Great Place to Work, and Great Results.

“Over the last eight years, we have worked hard to make state government work better for the people of Minnesota,” said Governor Mark Dayton. “I thank the many dedicated state employees who have delivered better, faster, more efficient services. Their many achievements have helped the State of Minnesota earn our distinction as the #1 Best-Run State in the nation.”

Since 2010, the Governor's Better Government Awards celebrates state employee work accomplishments that have increased efficiency and effectiveness in state government services. This year, a total of 34 projects were nominated for an award by teams from 10 state agencies.

“The Better Government Awards highlight the outstanding work that state employees do to make real improvements in the lives of Minnesotans. These initiatives reflect the tremendous creativity and dedication of the state’s public servants and serve as an inspiration to our colleagues across the nation,” said Administration Commissioner Matt Massman.

Below are the winning 2018 Better Government projects, as well as a list of all the winners since 2010.

Great Customer Service

Improving Drug Evidence Analysis – Department of Public Safety (DPS), Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA)

In response to the growing opioid crisis and rapidly increasing drug evidence submissions in 2015, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Forensic Science Service (BCA FSS) accelerated efforts to identify ways to reduce the time needed for processing and analysis. After the implementation of a technique called microcrystal testing, turnaround time for test results was reduced from 4-6 months to 2-weeks with approximately 6,000 fewer hearings. This is helping the BCA assist law enforcement to get criminals off the streets and those struggling with addiction into recovery. As of September 2018, the BCA FSS is the only forensic service in the nation to implement this expedited testing scheme approach to help tackle the opioid crisis on such a large, multijurisdictional scale.

Great Place to Work

Employee Recognition Program and Diversity Outreach – Metropolitan Council, Environmental Services

The Metropolitan Council’s Environmental Services Division’s (MCES) Employee Recognition Program and Diversity Outreach is a multifaceted strategy that works to expand recruitment, retention, and promotion efforts to create a workforce that reflects the diversity of our region, and a culture where employees are prepared welcomed and supported in their work. The program includes working with teachers to help build STEM curriculum, and being visible and vocal in the community by participating in job fairs, job shadowing and includes building relationships with community partners such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Twin West Chamber of Commerce. The MCES Employee Recognition Program now includes a peer recognition component and a Keystone Award recognizing the superior achievement of agency goals.

Great Results

Environmental Impact Measurements Project – Department of Administration

The Minnesota Department of Administration’s Office of Enterprise Sustainability’s (OES) Environmental Impact Measurements Project accounts for the impacts on the environment by enterprise state government operations for the first time. By assembling 1.5 million pieces of information and never-before-used leased building metrics into the 2017 Enterprise Sustainability Report, OES was able to learn where Minnesota needs to focus its sustainability efforts and create state government operations best practices to reduce our carbon footprint.

Modernization of Minnesota’s Criminal History System – Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s (BCA) Criminal History System contains information on persons arrested, their court dispositions, and custody status that is used for critical decisions involving arrests, prosecution, and sentencing. The main objective for the BCA’s Modernization of Minnesota’s Criminal History System was to develop a more robust system that would provide timely, accurate, and complete criminal history information for better decision making. The outcome has resulted in better accessibility and flexibility for BCA customers.

Past Award Winners: 2010 – 2018

For the past eight years, Governor Dayton has championed and supported the continuous improvement work of state employees. Here is a list of Award winners by year, from hundreds of nominations:


  • Warehouse Supply Team – Department of Human Services
  • Awesome Admission Kaizen Team – Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Unemployment Insurance Shared Work Team – Department of Employment and Economic Development
  • Health Insurance Recovery Team – Department of Human Services
  • Agency Achievement Award – Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
  • Individual Achievement Award – Christine Everson, Department of Health


  • Newborn Screening Long Term Follow-up Unit – Department of Health
  • Electronic Check Processing Team – Department of Revenue
  • Conservation Assistance and Regulation and Environmental Stewardship Teams – Department of Natural Resource and Department of Transportation
  • Individual Achievement Award: Harley Olinske – Department of Agriculture


  • Energy Savings Initiative – Metropolitan Council
  • Managing By Results – Department of Human Services
  • Measurement System for Clean Water Funds – Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Department of Health, Department of Natural Resources, Metropolitan Council, Board of Water and Soil Resources
  • e-Services for Business Taxpayers – Department of Revenue
  • Reducing Pressure Ulcer Wounds for Veterans – Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Individual Achievement Award: Tom Baumann – Department of Administration, Enterprise Lean Program


  • Printing and Return Mail Kaizen Team: Streamlining Printing and Mailing – Department of Revenue
  • MnSAFE Team: Reducing Work-Related Injuries to State Employees – Multi-agency team led by the Department of Administration
  • Data Access Portal Team: Streamlining Data Access to Inform Public Health – Department of Health
  • State Operated Services Order Entry Kaizen Team: Keeping Patients Safe Through Better Pharmacy Orders – Department of Human Services
  • Mobile License Buying App and Mobile LakeFinder Website Teams: Mobilizing Data Hunters and Anglers Want, Need and Use – Department of Natural Resources
  • Victim Restitution Recovery Project Team: Increasing Restitution Amounts Paid to Victims by Inmates – Department of Corrections


  • Agency Achievement Award – Department of Health
    • Improving Enforcement Documents to Support Swift Compliance with Public Health Laws – Indoor Environments and Radiation (IER) Section
    • Streamlining the Flu Testing Process for Faster Results and Zero Mistakes – Public Health Laboratory
    • Eliminating Delays to Accurately Identify Children with Brain Defects – Birth Defects Program
    • Increasing Efficiency and Integrity of Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) Monitoring and Evaluation – Office of Statewide Health Improvement Initiatives, Evaluation and Surveillance Unit
  • State Transportation Improvement Programs (STIP) Amendment Improvement Team – Improving the Process for Changes to Road Construction Funding – Department of Transportation, Metropolitan Council and Federal Highway Administration
  • Agency Permitting Staff – Creating an Accountable, Transparent and Predictable Environmental Permitting System – Department of Natural Resources and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
  • Luverne Veterans Home Team – Enhancing the Dining Experience to Promote Quality Food Choices – Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Enforcement Unit and Administrative Staff – Increasing Efficiency in Closing Filed Discrimination Charges – Department of Human Rights
  • State Library Services Team – Streamlining State and Federal Education Programs – Department of Education
  • Plain Language Team: Saying it Simply and Implementing a Customer Approach to Communication – Department of Revenue


  • Reducing Resources Needed and Improving the Quality of Bridge Inspections – Department of Transportation
  • Improving the Quality and Availability of Minnesota Vital Records Death Data – Department of Health
  • Streamlining the System for Processing Information Requests – Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
  • Reducing Psychotropic Medication in Special Care and Skilled Care Households – Department of Veterans Affairs


  • Enhancing Residents Lives Through Music and Memory – Department of Veterans Affairs, Minnesota Veterans Home – Luverne
  • "I am Revenue" Inclusion Campaign – Department of Revenue
  • Promoting the State as a Great Place to Start and Grow Your Career – Multi-agency collaboration led by Minnesota Management and Budget
  • Hydraulics Inspection Vehicle Explorer (HIVE) – Department of Transportation


  • Multicultural Media Outreach Project – Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
  • Metro Transit Technician Training Program – Metropolitan Council
  • Watershed Approach to Clean Water Project – Minnesota Pollution Control Agency


For additional information, please contact:
Curt Yoakum, Assistant Commissioner
(651) 201-2771

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