Governor Parnell required all Commissioners, Deputies and Directors to provide their resignations. Transition is an exciting time in the early days of a new Administration.
After the Reagan election, I served on the President’s transition team. Jimmy Carter’s governance was rejected. To change the Washington bureaucracy, President Reagan chose strong administrators. James Watt, Reagan’s Secretary of Interior, called all Carter appointees into the auditorium on his first day, thanked them for their service then asked them to clear out their desks. Instant new direction.
After four years of Carter’s restrictive Alaska policies and a virtual federal embargo on our resources, Reagan reaffirmed Alaska as a full partner. Our Transition Teams included Senators Stevens and Murkowski, Congressman Young, and Governor Hammond. We appointed Alaskans to make a difference in Alaska and throughout the country. Resource development surged throughout the West. Our ideological blood brother was in the Oval Office. We made good use of that time.
Environmentalists in Obama’s Administration are again restricting use of our lands and Alaska’s economy. But, administrations, whether federal and state, can slump into problem reporting rather than taking action. Reinvigorating government through Transition Teams is vital.
The new Administration should adopt an action plan: Turn Dirt. Want a gas pipeline? Finance it. Want mining in the Interior? Build the roads and rails needed. Want to solve the fishing emergencies on the Yukon? Build salmon hatcheries every 200 miles. Want to grow strong small businesses? Help businesses raise capital to own their plants and buildings. Want a University Stadium? After a decade of partial funding, let the private sector build it. Alaska’s institutions should break out of the study mode. Administrators hired should be action figures with J for JOBS emblazoned on their chests.
Wade Phillips is a fine guy. Just sacked as Head Coach of my Dallas Cowboys, he didn’t get the job done. He “retired”. That same standard should apply to each administrator in the Parnell Administration. To help with Transition Teams, the Governor has formed Advisory Groups to focus on natural resources; health and education; infrastructure; science, technology and communications; financial services and business investment; public safety and justice; and the military. The public is also encouraged to provide new ideas. Visit: http://gov.alaska.gov/transition2010.html.
Do you see opportunities for consolidation, reorganization or cost saving? Do you see service delivery problems? Do you see people with talent that can move up? Transitions are not popularity contests. Governor Parnell has invited us to change our state government’s performance, direction and personnel.
Since the election, I read strategic plans of several agencies and divisions. A few questions:
1. Is Department of Labor judged by the success of Employment Trends Magazine or the number of people Job Service trains and puts to work?
2. Is Alaska Housing Finance Corporation rewarded to increase its state dividend or stop unsafe housing from killing people?
3. Is AIDEA judged by its sectoral and energy analysis or loans to small businesses and building renewable energy projects?
4. Is Child Support Enforcement judged on its advocacy for families or the amount of money it returns to kids and Moms from deadbeat dads?
We have analysis paralysis. We have strategic plans galore. What we need are strategic implementers. Past administrators were judged on personality, philosophy and politics. Let’s change that yardstick. For success in jobs, measure the number of jobs now and the number one year ago. If jobs did not grow, retire the administrator and motivate new ones. For success in education, compare the number of graduates last year to this year’s spring semester. Success is more graduates. Less graduates means a change in management.
With $12 Billion in the budget reserve and a sea of voter’s good will for Governor Parnell and Lt. Governor Elect Treadwell, these Transitions Teams can get strategic plans off the paper and into the economy. Alaska’s brightest days are yet to come.