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This page offers all of Delaware Public Media's ongoing coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it is affecting the First State. Check here regularly for the latest new and information.

Many state gov't efficiencies discovered during COVID-19 may become permanent

Delaware Public Media

Just like people in the commercial sector, state employees are making significant changes to the way they work.

But the state says it’s discovered better ways to do business in a post-COVID world.

When John Carney was first elected governor 4 years ago, he implemented the Government Efficiency and Accountability Review Board (GEAR) to constantly look at ways to spend taxpayer dollars more efficiently and help people access government services easier.

GEAR released its annual report Thursday, highlighting how the state has largely been successful in saving money, and making the government run smoother.

And Secretary of Finance Rick Geisenberger says the state will keep looking at how it can run better.

“The number of state employees hasn’t grown in over a decade, yet the number of people who live in the state and demand services and the number of services delivered has continued to increase," said Geisenberger. "So that happens because of continuous improvement and leveraging technology in order to be able to deliver more services with the same number of people or fewer.”

Geisenberger says COVID-19 wasn’t all bad.  It highlighted new ways state government can function that save time and money for everyone.

“While it’s been, obviously very difficult, it’s also created some opportunities for us to rethink how certain services are delivered and to figure out how we can maybe make some of these changes more permanent,” Geosenberger said.

Moving some meetings and public hearings online permanently would give more people the chance to attend, and give public comment without having to drive great distances.

Geisenberger notes while most governors may look at efficiency once at the start of their term, Carney’s program, known as GEAR, is designed to continuously look for improvements.

He says that’s the only way to actually see results when it comes to government efficiency, and they’ve shown that through the progress made over the past four years.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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