Assuming responsibility for the Agency, a new Director wanted to know how effectively citizens, stakeholders and employees thought the organization was meeting their expectations.

A “command and control” culture pervaded, making employees reluctant to make decisions, express concerns or communicate problems upward. Over time, this created a pattern of smaller and smaller decisions being pushed to higher and higher levels of management.

The Director sought to improve connectivity with Regional stakeholders and citizens by making more decisions locally, by Managers closest to the situation instead of at the State Capital.

A means of constructively engaging citizen, stakeholder and employee input in the evaluation and planning process was sought that would not require enormous amounts of time and other resources for the process.

Beginning with a multi-level internet survey, more than 1,500 citizens, stakeholders and employees rated Agency effectiveness on key performance initiatives and future expectations. Findings were used to re-orient Departmental priorities. Significant “stop doing” activities were identified. The need to improve Agency responsiveness, streamline regulation and make more decisions on a regional basis were identified as priorities. A review process continued to involve employees and stakeholders in monitoring progress and continuous improvement.

Traditionally, Agency proposals for organizational redesign have tended to attract support from one State House and opposition from the other. Because the redesign recommendations included unprecedented levels of public input, Legislators had a high degree of confidence the planning team had gotten it right. The proposal received overwhelming support from both the House and Senate.

The process was completed in less than 18 months.