MONTGOMERY - Governor Robert Bentley on Thursday signed a series of measures aimed at increasing efficiency across government agencies.
"Our goal since taking office has been to make government more efficient while saving taxpayer dollars," Governor Bentley said. "We are working closely with members of the Alabama Legislature to accomplish this goal. The measures I am signing today will all help us achieve greater efficiency."
"I applaud this Legislature for making right-sizing government a priority," Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey said. "Continuing economic challenges have taught us to tighten our belts and look for efficiencies in government where possible. I am confident these measures will result in saving the state millions of dollars and will help serve the people of Alabama more efficiently and effectively."
"While President Obama and the federal government continue to bloat and expand, Alabama is taking the necessary steps to ensure that our state is operating in the most efficient manner possible," said Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn). "Republicans are the party of smaller government, and we owe it to our state's taxpayers to streamline our efforts to the best of our ability. The bills signed by Governor Bentley today will make good on our commitment to the people of Alabama."
State Law Enforcement - Senate Bill 108:
This legislation signed by the Governor will better coordinate state-level law enforcement. The result will be better public safety for the people of Alabama.
Senate Bill 108 accomplishes this by streamlining the administrative-level functions of state law enforcement agencies. Currently, more than 20 state agencies and departments provide law enforcement services. By improving coordination, this bill will help minimize redundancies and allow more resources to be focused on the actual law enforcement services that are delivered to the public.
"We appreciate the service and dedication of all of our state law enforcement officers," Governor Bentley said. "As we improve coordination between their departments, we'll be able to better protect our citizens while also saving taxpayers money."
"When it comes to cutting costs and working toward a more efficient government, no one has been more committed to this effort than Governor Bentley and my colleagues in the Legislature," said Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston), who sponsored this legislation. "After more than two years of work involving countless hours from representatives from the law enforcement community, we have a model that will result in better, more cost-effective services to the people of Alabama."
"As a retired state trooper, oftentimes my colleagues and I would see ways that our agency and partnering agencies could be run more efficiently and effectively," said the bill's House Sponsor, Representative Mike Ball (R-Madison). "After much study and thorough investigation, this legislation will finally streamline Alabama's law enforcement efforts while conserving taxpayer dollars and maximizing efficiency."
Senate Bill 108 establishes the Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency and a Secretary of Law Enforcement to oversee state-level law enforcement functions. Governor Bentley will appoint the Secretary in the coming months.
Information Technology - Senate Bill 117:
Governor Bentley signed this legislation to streamline the state's information technology.
Currently, there is little coordination among state-level, non-education agencies in many areas involving I.T. The result is that state agencies often have I.T. systems that are not compatible with each other, and simple cost-saving measures such as buying in bulk across state agencies are not realized.
This bill addresses those problems by establishing a Secretary of Information Technology who will identify ways to save money and improve coordination within the state's I.T. networks. The Secretary will develop and implement a responsible plan to coordinate the purchasing, management and use of I.T. across state agencies.
"Our Secretary of Information Technology will help us organize I.T. to make it more efficient, to save taxpayer dollars and to make it more secure," Governor Bentley said. "By improving coordination, we can make sure we're spending money wisely and saving money where we can."
The Secretary of Information Technology will be appointed by Governor Bentley in the near future. A legislative oversight committee will review the operations and performance of the Secretary.
"As state operations become more and more dependent upon technology, it's imperative that we have someone to hold accountable for making sure we're operating in the most efficient and responsible manner," said Senator Phil Williams (R-Rainbow City), who sponsored the legislation. "The signing of this bill marks a positive step toward significant cost savings for state I.T. functions, and I'm proud to have been a part of this effort."
"As a businessman, I know that in order to keep the doors open, it's important to maximize your efficiencies and results while minimizing your overhead," said Representative Ken Johnson (R-Moulton), House Sponsor of the legislation. "It is imperative to have someone to hold accountable for making sure I.T. is managed in the most efficient way possible, particularly at a time when we are becoming increasingly dependent on technology to operate."
Also Thursday, Governor Bentley signed an executive order that will increase efficiency in the management and maintenance of state-owned vehicles.
The executive order establishes an Office of Fleet Management and a Fleet Manager within the Alabama Department of Transportation. The Fleet Manager will work with state agencies to assess the state's current fleet of vehicles. The Fleet Manager will then develop a uniform, statewide program to ensure the most efficient methods of managing those vehicles.
The program will focus on issues such as fuel efficiency and cost-effective maintenance. The goal is to have the lowest possible cost per mile driven.
"The Department of Transportation has done an excellent job in fleet management, and we are choosing ALDOT to oversee management of the entire state's fleet program," Governor Bentley said. "The Fleet Manager will work closely with all agencies to make this transition as efficient and seamless as possible."
Upcoming legislation from Senator Cam Ward and Representative Greg Wren will also help support more efficient fleet management.
"This efficiency reform to our state fleet policies will help bring Alabama's vehicle management into the 21st century," Senator Ward (R-Alabaster) said. "I've worked on these issues since I was first elected, and I'm proud of our Governor for his forward-thinking leadership. This not only cuts down on energy use, it will also save the state millions of tax dollars and allow us to upgrade public safety vehicles at the same time. This reform will be an enormous savings for state government, which is a win-win for everyone."
"I'd like to commend Governor Bentley for working with the Legislature to create a state fleet management program within the Department of Transportation," Representative Wren (R-Montgomery) said. "As an executive agency, ALDOT will have the responsibility to develop and manage thousands of taxpayer-owned vehicles in order to reduce transportation costs, improve operating efficiencies and provide a lower-cost vehicle replacement program during the years ahead. This Executive Order to create a Fleet Manager within ALDOT is consistent with Governor Bentley's efforts to save taxpayer dollars. I applaud the Governor and ALDOT Director John Cooper for their ongoing working relationship with the Legislature."