A study group of elected officials and state employees will soon begin to look for ways to "improve efficiency and streamline operations" in the executive branch of state government.

According to an executive order signed by Gov. Kay Ivey last week, the newly-formed Governor's Study Group on Efficiency in State Government will, among other tasks, analyze whether "agencies, boards, commissions, and other executive-branch entities of state government perform overlapping or duplicative functions" and the "primary policies of state government that restrict state agencies in effectively recruiting, retaining, compensating, and supervising state employees."

The executive order also asks the study group to  find answers to the question, "What are best practices in other states for 'streamlining' government through agency consolidation or elimination?"

"The way I look at it, like on your personal level, you know you may have signed up for a cell phone five, six years ago, and there are different and better packages," said State Sen. Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville) in an interview with 1819 News. "Or maybe your cable TVs, there may be better packages. So, over time things change, and what may have made sense 10, 20, 30 years ago when it was instituted in state government may not be the best and most efficient way to do it now. The way I'm looking at it is, 'What are the new opportunities out there through technology, through whatever that will help us be more efficient for the taxpayer?'"

Chambliss is a member of the study group.

Ivey said in the executive order that her office "identified at least 150 agencies, boards, commissions, and other entities that can be said to comprise the executive branch of state government." 

She also said "one or more of these state executive-branch entities is likely performing work that duplicates the work of one or more other such entities," and "one or more of these state executive-branch entities may be performing work that need not be performed at all."

According to the executive order, a report and recommendations on the study group's findings will be completed by December 15.

Alabama State Treasurer Young Boozer said in an interview with 1819 News that he'd "come up with preliminary ideas as to who we need to talk to, what we need to investigate, and just try to get the thing organized." Boozer is the chair of the study group.

"In the executive order, they indicate that there are at least 150 agencies that might be impacted by this," Boozer said. "We think it's probably more. What we're doing is we're now working to be ready to start by identifying how many are there and who they are. In this process, we're going to have to develop a profile for each one. Who are they? What do they do? How do they do it? What's the staffing? All of those kinds of things. That's a lot of data gathering. In the first part of this process, we're going to be doing a lot of research on these agencies and departments."

Boozer said the group is also "going to be doing a lot of research on other states."

"Typically, that's what happens, when a state says we would like to do something, there are 49 other states out there that can or should or have done these things," Boozer said. "We're contacting some of our friends out there who have done this to get feedback on what they did, how they did it, when they did it, what worked, and what didn't work."

Boozer said he suspects Ivey will probably call the first meeting of the group before the upcoming legislative session.

According to the executive order, the study group will hold its first meeting at the call of the Governor and will "meet periodically thereafter as deemed necessary by the chair."

"We'll meet as needed," Boozer said. "We're going to be flexible. We're going to meet when we have to. We're probably going to have a mixture of public meetings and work sessions. We've got a lot of information that we've got to gather. There's going to be a legislative session in between and maybe even a special session." 

Other members of the study group will include: State Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison (D-Birmingham), State Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile), Alabama Department of Revenue Commissioner Vernon Barnett, Alabama Department of Finance State Comptroller Kathleen Baxter, State Personnel Director Jackie Graham, State Budget Officer Doryan Carlton, Manufacture Alabama Chief Operating Officer Jon Barganier, and Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts Chief Examiner Rachel Riddle (advisory capacity).

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email caleb.taylor@1819News.com.

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