HARRISBURG, Pa., July 22, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Seven state agencies are being recognized for reducing costs, increased productivity and improving service by the Governor's Innovation Office.
The awards were presented earlier this morning at the second annual Governor's Innovation Expo in the Keystone Building in Harrisburg.
"These are just a few examples of how my administration is working to make state government more effective and efficient," said Corbett. "I congratulate the agencies and their employees for these accomplishments."
The expo will feature informational displays, as well as in-depth presentations by agencies competing for the Innovation of the Year awards. The winners of both competitions will be decided by panels of guest judges from the private sector and academia, and will be announced later today.
Since 2011, state agencies have completed 275 innovation initiatives worth a combined $690 million in cost savings and productivity gains.
Treasury Offset Program
Department of Labor and Industry
This partnership between the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Department of Labor & Industry's (L & I) Office of Integrity has reclaimed millions of dollars in Unemployment Compensation benefits collected by means of fraud. The program allows L & I to intercept the federal income tax refunds of individuals who collected benefits to which they were not entitled. To date, more than $46.2 million has been recovered for the state's Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund, ensuring that benefits are available for those Pennsylvanians eligible to receive them.
Agency Consolidation Initiative
Department of Banking and PA Securities Commission
As a result of this merger in Oct. 2012, two of the key state financial services regulatory agencies have been placed together to provide a seamless, one-stop shop for Pennsylvania's financial services institutions, consumers and investors. Cost savings and efficiencies were gained through the consolidation of leased space and office locations and eliminated duplicative expenses. This innovation generated $2.6 million in savings in its first year.
Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Training Coordination
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (PA Army National Guard)
Pennsylvania has one of the top swift water and flood rescue teams in the nation, and training is vital to maintaining these specialized skills. By using their existing flying hour budgets for annual training, the three agencies have eliminated the need to seek additional funding support to train the PA-HART teams. This initiative saved $497,840 in flight training hours in 2013.
Natural History Lab Collaboration
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources & Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
DCNR needed more space for its natural scientists to conduct their activities and research. PHMC needed scientists to staff its natural history laboratory and the storage facilities at The State Museum. By pooling their resources, the two agencies are able to save money, use the available lab space more efficiently, consolidate their collections and use staff time more effectively. The result is a collaboration that is saving $50,000 each year.
Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission
In partnership with the PA Office of General Counsel, this program provides specially trained, neutral, volunteer mediators to help resolve employment discrimination complaints quickly, avoiding lengthy investigations and hearings or court. Mediation enables parties to reach a voluntary agreement that satisfies both parties. The program has saved more than $100,000.
To learn more about innovation in state government or to submit your own idea, go to www.innovation.pa.gov.
Media contact: Dan Egan, Office of Administration, 717-772-4237
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor