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February 12, 2008




Bill would streamline agencies, reduce governmental bureaucracy

(JACKSON, Mississippi) – At a press conference held at the Capitol Rotunda, Governor Haley Barbour today was joined by Lt. Governor Phil Bryant, Department of Agriculture and Commerce Commissioner Lester Spell, Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps, and legislators to urge passage of Senate Bill 2680, which reduces bureaucracy within state agencies by freeing agency heads from certain State Personnel Board regulations.


Passage of this bill would allow agencies to right size, resulting in reduced office costs and increased government efficiency, Governor Barbour explained.


“Senate Bill 2680 is common sense legislation that will rid our agencies of burdensome red-tape and enable us to have substantial cost savings, as we did in 2004 when I proposed and the Legislature approved a plan that gave Commissioner Epps the authority he needed to reorganize the Department of Corrections,” Governor Barbour said. “Since then, we’ve saved over $14 million within the agency. I urge lawmakers to adopt this proven, fiscally responsible legislation so we can reduce waste, streamline costs, and foster better government practices.”


“In a year when Mississippi's budget will be lean with even critical expenditures at risk, I think it is important to give each state agency director the maximum flexibility to operate their agency,” said Lt. Governor Phil Bryant. “We are simply applying the same business principles that are used each day in the private sector to help make state government more accountable, efficient, and fiscally sound.”


Under Senate Bill 2680, agency heads are allowed to manage their own personnel for one year without operating under State Personnel Board regulations. The bill, authored by Senator Terry Brown, permits managerial flexibility within executive agencies, which allows for increased efficiency, reduced costs, and a more business-like approach to state government.


The bill builds on similar legislation Governor Barbour proposed and the Legislature passed in 2004, which allowed the Mississippi Department of Corrections central office, the State Penitentiary at Parchman, and the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Rankin County exemption status from State Personnel Board procedures for one year. House Bill 1279 enabled the MDOC to reorganize upper level and other staff positions, which saved Mississippi taxpayers more than $14.9 million in Fiscal Year 2004.


In 1996, the Department of Agriculture and Commerce also achieved significant cost savings after the Legislature removed the Department from State Personnel Board restrictions, thus enabling Commissioner Spell to reorganize the agency while maintaining a strong commitment to serve Mississippi’s agricultural interests. Since 1996, the Department of Agriculture and Commerce has saved approximately $40 million for the state.