As a relatively successful private sector affordable housing developer for almost 25 years in the Twin Cities, I went on to graduate school in the early 2000’s to develop the skills necessary to bring private sector business practices and approaches to the public sector. It was my belief that these approaches would assist government agencies in becoming more cost effective, and consequently, less tax dependent.
What I discovered after going to work for the government was that that “Process” adds between 100% to sometimes 400% to the cost of doing business. And for most government bureaucrats that is the safest approach. What I sufferingly learned was that process is everything, no matter what the cost to the taxpayer, because later, no outsider, or politician, can point at the agency leadership and find fault. They followed their board’s policy and process. Consequently any problem is the boards, not the staffs. There is safety in bureaucracy, and the whole “creative” process is tamped down every time it tries to raise its head. Government employees know that if they follow process, they can have lifetime employment, no mater what it costs the taxpayers.
I understand that sometimes process is absolutely necessary to accomplish mission and stay within governmental mandates. But, in many cases, very strict process guidelines are not,… and a more pragmatic approach could save millions in tax dollars every year. The ability of an agency to separate its functions into those that are process mandated, and those that can be more pragmatically approached could greatly reduce costs.
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