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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 31, 2003

Blagojevich unveils latest plans to streamline state government and improve efficiency
14 agencies consolidated or their operations transferred; duplicative services and positions eliminated

SPRINGFIELD, ILL. – As part of an ongoing effort to streamline state government and improve efficiency, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a series of moves to consolidate or transfer operations of 14 existing state agencies and five major functions that will initially save approximately $40 million in the next fiscal year.

“These steps will reduce duplicative and inefficient operations, while at the same time offering better services and significant cost savings,” Blagojevich said. “The people of this state have told us they want a change in how state government functions, they want less government and they want more service. We listened. Business as usual in Springfield is becoming a thing of the past.”

Through executive orders signed today, Blagojevich will:

In addition, the governor will seek legislation to merge the operations of the Pollution Control Board (PCB) and Environmental Protection Trust Fund Commission with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), consolidate fee collections at the Department of Revenue and merge the Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) with the Department of Insurance.

And, Blagojevich will create shared service centers in Springfield and Chicago to provide administrative services, space and equipment to smaller agencies. These centers will allow agencies to share administrative needs, such as offices, computers and copiers, and, more importantly, the cost.

“Many of these ideas borrow from management practices used by private business to keep down costs and others are simple common sense approaches,” Blagojevich said. “For example, the state has already saved $1 million by canceling Lottery’s lease of premium Chicago office space just off North Michigan Avenue and moving the operation to surplus state office space.”

Highlights of the governor’s actions:

Department of Revenue reorganization and fee collections

By moving the Lottery, Liquor Control Commission and Racing Board to the Department of Revenue, shared administrative costs alone will save more than $2 million.

The governor also intends to have fee collections handled by a highly automated system that will reduce duplicative and inefficient processing and make cash management, debt collection and pricing more effective. Through headcount reduction, improved cash management and collection of unpaid debt, costs savings are initially estimated at $1.3 million in the first year and significantly greater savings in later years when information technology and debt collection procedures are fully implemented. Additionally, the major improvements will be in the consistent application, compliance and collection of fees, representing increased revenues to the state. According to reports by the state Comptroller, Illinois’ fees (other than those collected for motor vehicles and by universities) are only 40 percent of the average in the 50 states. Agencies under the governor’s control collect 673 fees totaling $1.6 billion a year.

Legal services, internal audits and facilities management

State agency legal functions will be combined into a central law department at CMS to improve the quality, consistency and efficiency of the state’s legal activities. While some agency specific policy and adjudicatory legal staff may remain with an agency, all legal work related to personnel, procurement, bond financing and many other issues will be moved. Initial cost savings of $5.4 million will be realized by legal work common to all agencies being accomplished by fewer attorneys. Legal work will be of better quality since attorneys will be able to specialize and develop expertise in critical areas such as personnel, procurement and real estate.

Following the lead of many private and public sector organizations, combining all state agency internal auditing functions within CMS will initially save $5 million through reduction in headcount, administrative costs and duplicative software licenses. Additionally, this will allow for the establishment of the necessary independence required for auditor objectivity regarding the department or function being audited. Recently, one state agency’s auditor was the son of the agency director. By moving the auditing functions into a centralized system, these types of conflicts can be avoided in the future.

Agencies under the governor’s control occupy 43 million square fee of space and maintenance, repair, security, utilities and other facility management functions that cost an estimated $416 million a year. Currently, CMS only manages 6 percent of these activities, resulting in uncoordinated and fragmented facility management practices. Consolidating facilities management at CMS will initially save $14 million through headcount reduction, combining energy contracts, better leasing strategies and economies of scale with outside contractors. This step will eliminate the lack of planned and coordinated physical plant management, which has resulted in fragmented facilities management practices, particularly uneven staffing, excessive and erratic overtime and nonstandard energy utilization management.

Nuclear Safety merged with IEMA

By transferring the functions of the Department of Nuclear Safety to IEMA, the state will be able to better coordinate emergency response to a terrorist threat or other potential disasters involving nuclear power facilities. Streamlining and consolidating the functions of these agencies will enable the state to realize better communications and shared informational resources, and provide more efficient use of specialized expertise and facilities. Gary Wright, the director of Nuclear Safety, will become an assistant director at IEMA in the Division of Nuclear Safety and report to IEMA Director Bill Burke. Costs savings through headcount reductions and other efficiencies are estimated at $700,000. The transfer is effective July 1.

Shared Services Center

This innovative business approach will initially save the state administrative expenditures and will provide six smaller state agencies with shared office space, equipment and administrative staff, including accounting and payroll. Instead of each agency having their own office, phone system, computers and copiers, accounting and procurement services, they will share these items and, more importantly, share the costs. These centers will be located in both Chicago and Springfield. Some of the agencies initially affected include the Human Rights Commission, Guardianship and Advocacy Commission, Illinois Violence Prevention Authority, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission, the Property Tax Appeal Board and the Drycleaner Environmental Response Trust Fund Council.

Consolidate state and federal funded job training programs

Scarce job training resources are fragmented and spread across multiple state agencies and programs with similar missions, including Prairie State 2000, the Industrial Training Program, the Current Workforce Training Grant and the Job Training and Economic Development Grant Program. The programs will be consolidated and aligned within DCEO along with related federal resources, including the federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998, the federal Illinois Trade Adjustment Assistance Program and the federal and state-funded Welfare to Work program, to insure job-training resources are used to support economic development and to ensure both program and fiscal efficiency. Through the consolidation and realignment of these existing state and federal programs, the state will save more than $10 million through administrative costs savings and better use of federal discretionary money to support statewide training initiatives.

CHIP and Department of Insurance

The governor intends to merge the Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan, (CHIP), which currently is a small, stand-alone agency, into the Department of Insurance to increase efficiency. CHIP is a state insurance program for working families who are unable to obtain private health insurance. It has provided coverage to about 34,000 residents since 1989 and is paid for by health insurers and health maintenance organizations that do business in Illinois. The director of the Department of Insurance currently serves as chair of the CHIP board.

Environmental

While regulatory oversight will remain independent, merging the Pollution Control Board into EPA will allow for the sharing of administrative functions and save $500,000. EPA already administers the Environmental Protection Trust Fund Commission and the governor’s action simply moves the commission’s budget operations to the agency and affords greater efficiency.


Executive Order Number 9 - 2003
Executive Order Number 10 - 2003
Executive Order Number 11 - 2003
Executive Order Number 12 - 2003



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