LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Monday the creation of a board that will make recommendations for cutting costs and increasing efficiency in state government.
The Transformation Advisory Board will review recommendations in a report issued last year by the Arkansas Policy Foundation as well as look for more ways to improve efficiency, the governor’s office said in a statement. No taxpayer dollars will be spent on the board, the members of which will be unpaid volunteers.
The board will make recommendations on a continuing basis to Amy Fecher, the state’s chief transformation officer.
“This advisory board will continue my administration’s efforts in identifying potential efficiencies and cost-savings,” Hutchinson said. “Transformation is a key priority of mine as governor, and I will continue to maintain that focus as we look for better ways to run state government, reduce bureaucracy and increase the level of savings to the state and taxpayer.”
Appointed to the board Monday were:
• Chairman Mike Carroll, Fort Smith, Beall Barclay.
• Jennifer Bell, North Little Rock, Bell & Co.
• Rep. Andy Davis, R-Little Rock.
• George Dunklin, Humphrey, Arkansas Policy Foundation board chairman.
• Alex Garcia, Rogers, Walmart.
• Solomon Graves, Little Rock, Arkansas Department of Correction spokesman.
• Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, Little Rock.
• Tim Leathers, Little Rock, InVeritas.
• Rep. Matthew Shepherd, R-El Dorado.
• Keesa Smith, Jacksonville, Arkansas Department of Human Services deputy director.
• Bill Tippin, Washington, D.C., Webster University.
• Dean Matt Waller, Fayetteville, University of Arkansas.
• Mark White, Little Rock, Arkansas Public School Resource Center.
• Sen. Eddie Joe Williams, R-Cabot.
• Ex-officio to the board Amy Fecher, Sherwood, Arkansas chief transformation officer.
Greg Kaza, Director of the Arkansas Policy Foundation, said, “Citizen involvement is crucial to increasing efficiency in Arkansas state government. Today’s announcement is consistent with the Efficiency Project’s recommendation that citizens should work with the executive branch to advance efficiencies.”
The governor’s office said that since Hutchinson took office in January 2015, his cost-saving initiatives have included ordering a state-wide hiring freeze, resulting in about 1,100 fewer state employees; merging four state agencies for a projected savings over the next five years of $10 million; selling the Department of Health’s In-Home Services Unit to the publicly traded Kindred Healthcare for $24 million; and cutting state agencies’ budgets by 1 percent for an annual savings of $7 million.
On Wednesday, Hutchinson is scheduled to sign into law three bills aimed at increasing government efficiency. The bills will move War Memorial Stadium to the Department of Parks and Tourism, move the Arkansas Energy Office to the Department of Environmental Quality and moving the Office of Health Information Technology to the Department of Health.