INDIANAPOLIS – Following a directive from Gov. Mike Pence, state agency heads are re-organizing some of their top priorities to better reflect the first-year governor’s “road map for Indiana” plan for improving the state’s economy, infrastructure and health.
Pence’s office unveiled his “performance management agenda” this week that includes specific measurable goals, from reducing infant mortality rates to increasing the number of Hoosiers who live within an hour of a state park.
The governor’s staff released a list more than 75 “key performance indicators” that will be used to evaluate and reward state agencies.
The list contains ambitious goals for state agencies that are already running on lean budgets, leftover from the cost-cutting years of Pence’s predecessor, fellow Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels.
It includes, for example, both speeding up the permitting decisions by the state environmental protection agency and increasing the number of Hoosiers who have clean air and drinking water, measured by tough federal standards.
Chris Atkins, head of the state’s Office of Management and Budget, which helped establish the performance indicators, said they were intentionally ambitious.
“The governor wants to set very aggressive expectations for his agencies,” Atkins said at a press briefing Monday. “He knows that he’s got the personnel in place to get the job done and achieve these goals and he expects them to stretch themselves to get it done.”
Just over 40 percent of the measurable goals on Pence’s list were already in place when Pence took over from Daniels. The rest are either new or are goals that have significantly moved up in priority.
For example, in the past the Indiana Economic Development Corporation measured jobs that were promised by employers who got tax breaks and other incentives from the state. Under Pence, one of the “key performance indicators” by which IEDC will be evaluated is the number of jobs that actually come to fruition.
Pence is also instituting an element of performance-based funding for state agencies, which are required to keep 3 percent of their budget in reserve. Those agencies that meet or exceed their goals will be able to tap into a portion of that money to spend on projects or personnel.
Atkins said details of agencies’ priorities, with key performance indicators and other information will be posted on the Indiana Transparency Portal, www.in.gov/itp, which provides information on state spending and operations.
Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org