The Times West Virginian

Local News

April 9, 2009

Pew Center helps state save money, operate efficiently

FAIRMONT — Through a partnership with the Pew Center on the States, West Virginia is working to save money and improve government operations.

The Pew Center on the States, a division of the Pew Charitable Trusts, focuses on “innovative policy approaches to complex problems for states.”

Diane Holley, communication director of the West Virginia Department of Administration, explained that each year the center’s Government Performance Project evaluates the management of state governments through its Grading the States report. Pew’s new Management Labs are an effort to work with states to strengthen areas like finance, personnel, human resources and technology, she said.

Any state was eligible to apply for the yearlong program, and West Virginia submitted a very detailed application explaining its interest, goals and commitment. West Virginia was very pleased to be one of three states — along with Georgia and Ohio — chosen to parter with the center, Holley said.

As part of being selected to participate, West Virginia will receive consulting from the Pew Center on the States and $50,000 for its state project, she said.

“What’s really great is we get the expertise and the advisors from Pew,” Holley said. “There’s just not a price tag for that because these are very knowledgeable people in the field of governmental organization.”

“They deal with all the other states and so they know what works and what doesn’t. We’re looking forward to working with them and seeing what the final product is at the end.”

Holley said the program kicked off in West Virginia last month. In mid-March, staff from the Pew Center on the States met with Gov. Joe Manchin and state officials to talk about the project.

Throughout the year, the center will work with West Virginia to develop planning and budgeting initiatives that could be implemented to improve efficiency and accountability, she said.

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