Gregoire plan: Merge state agencies, eliminate boards
Gov. Chris Gregoire on Tuesday announced a plan that would consolidate several state agencies and eliminate three dozen boards and commissions, a move she says will save the state nearly $30 million over the next two years.
OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire on Tuesday announced a plan that would consolidate several state agencies and eliminate three dozen boards and commissions, a move she says would save nearly $30 million over the next two years.
Gregoire said her proposal would reduce 21 state agencies to nine, saving the state $22 million.
The announcement is part of a multiday rollout of her two-year budget, to be formally announced Wednesday.
Monday, Gregoire unveiled proposals to cut certain state pension benefits and reduce the growth of health-care costs as part of her effort to address the projected $4.6 billion deficit for the next two-year budget.
"To help offset the shortfall, we must put forward to the Legislature transformative ideas," she said. "It can't just be about cutting, it has to be about changing."
Under the plan, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the State Parks and Recreation Commission, the Recreation and Conservation Office and the law-enforcement unit of the Department of Natural Resources would be consolidated into a new Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Gregoire also wants to create an Office of Civil Rights, which would encompass the consolidation of the Human Rights Commission, Office of Minority and Women's Business Enterprise, Commission on African Affairs, Commission on Hispanic Affairs and Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs.
Other areas that would be consolidated:
• The work of the Columbia River Gorge Commission, the Pollution Liability Insurance Agency and the Department of Health's reclaimed-water program shifted to the Department of Ecology.
• The Conservation Commission merged into the Department of Agriculture.
• The Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation absorbed by the Department of Natural Resources.
• The departments of General Administration, Personnel, Printing, and portions of the Department of Information Services and the Office of Financial Management shifted to new Department of Enterprise Services.
Gregoire said that about 125 state jobs would be cut as a result. Many would be duplicates under the consolidation, such as receptionists or manager positions.
Gregoire said she wants to eliminate more boards and commissions. More than 140 were either eliminated or consolidated in past years. The move to eliminate an additional 36 would save the state an estimated $7.4 million, Gregoire's office said.
Gregoire said she also wants to look for savings in corrections services, including opportunities to coordinate use of state prisons and local jails.
She said the Department of Corrections was working with the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs to discuss options.
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.
I've been fortunate to have traveled the world: Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia. Exotic islands, too. Wherever I go, I'm struck by one undeniable trut...
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