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VIDEO: Hutchinson wants to reorganize state government, have fewer agencies

by Brandon Riddle | March 15, 2018 at 10:40 a.m. | Updated March 15, 2018 at 11:55 a.m.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson delivers remarks Tuesday Jan. 16 2018 at the North American Free Trade Agreement summit in Rogers.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Thursday announced a plan to reduce the number of state agencies that report to his office by more than half.

More than 40 agencies currently report directly to the governor’s office, Hutchinson said. The proposed restructuring would result in fewer than 20 departments in state government.

“[This] will result in greater efficiency, greater service to our citizens of this state and a more effective and responsive government that the people of Arkansas expect,” the Republican governor said during a news conference at the state Capitol.

Hutchinson added that the proposed restructuring, set to be discussed during next year’s legislative session, would provide enhanced accountability.

“This size of our [current] state cabinet is unwieldy and does not allow for sufficient accountability to the taxpayers,” he said.

Hutchinson said the newly formed government structure must be created by the stakeholders, residents, state employees and legislators.

“I recognize the challenge this presents. This is not easy,” Hutchinson said. “There will be those that are concerned about their jobs. There will be those that are concerned about their position.”

Arkansas’ Transformation Advisory Board, created in February 2017 with the goal of identifying efficiencies and cost-savings measures, will lead the restructuring effort.

A report deadline has been set for the fall for details of the plan in order to prepare and work with legislators, Hutchinson said.

“Whatever comes, there’s going to be a lot of tinkering with it,” he said. “We want to get this right, so we’ll be listening.”

Hutchinson said the number of state employees has been reduced by about 1,000 since he took office.

The last "true" state government overhaul happened nearly 47 years ago, the governor noted.

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Read Friday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.


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