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Malloy Administration Pitches ‘Lean’ Government, Denies Being Heavy Handed

by | Apr 10, 2015 2:46pm () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: State Budget, State Capitol, East Hartford

Christine Stuart photo EAST HARTFORD — Malloy administration budget director Ben Barnes encouraged state agency heads Friday to think about how they can make their agencies more efficient through what’s called “lean” government.

The idea behind “lean” government is to eliminate waste. It’s a process, Barnes said, that is even more important at a time when there are fewer resources. He said employing “lean” strategies will free up staff to focus on other activities and improve “customer service.”

At a meeting with the group of state agency commissioners Friday at Rentschler Field, Barnes joked that he’s had to deny hiring requests from about two-thirds of the agency heads, whom he forbade in March from offering ideas to lawmakers trying to remake the governor’s two-year, $40 billion budget.

In a March 5 letter, which lawmakers have called heavy handed, Barnes tells agency heads they are allowed to provide “facts and data” but if they are asked for an alternative, “you are encouraged to respond factually and with the Governor’s agenda in mind.”

The letter continues: “Requests for new ideas, alternative reduction proposals, or for the agency’s priorities in restoring or cutting funds should be referred to OPM. Agencies are expected to support the Governor’s budget rather than providing alternatives to that budget.”

Frustrated with the lack of information they have been able to obtain from the administration, Rep. Toni Walker, D-New Haven, said last week that there are three branches of government and one is not more important than the other.

“There are three branches of government here and we have to make sure whatever we do does not deter people in Connecticut from thriving,” Walker said.

She bristled at the notion that the legislature shouldn’t be putting together its own budget as elected representatives of a different branch of government. She said the process requires the governor to present a budget to the legislature, but then it’s up to the legislature to come up with a budget to send back to the governor.

Malloy, who told lawmakers through the news media last week that there’s no time to “remake” his budget, said Friday that the administration has to speak with “one voice.”

“We have a spending cap. We have a revenue situation. Everybody’s got a wish list. But we’re not doing anything any way differently than we’ve done it in the first two budget cycles I’ve been involved in,” Malloy said. “For anyone to pretend that we are is a gross misstatement of reality.”

Malloy said it was necessary for Barnes to send the memo because there are new state agency heads who may not have known how things are done in his administration. However, many of the commissioners are the same ones he appointed in his first term and to who he gave 12 percent pay increases after winning re-election.

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, who was previously a state representative during Republican administrations, said similar letters have been sent by previous governors.

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(12) Archived Comments

posted by: Biff Winnetka | April 10, 2015  3:57pm


I wasn’t sure if I should go with an Alice in Wonderland quote or a Twilight Zone quote to describe how outright hilarious and surreal it is for the Malloy Administration to be addressing “Lean Government.”

An Alice in Wonderland quote seems the most appropriate to describe this bizzaro 5,543 square miles known as CT in 2015…

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland  

posted by: Ctreal309 | April 10, 2015  5:04pm

“Lean” ...get rid of the managers who are paid 100k+ a year to read emails all day long! Is it necessary that agencies need more than 1 or 2 managers per office ?

posted by: LE 2015 | April 10, 2015  5:39pm

If you give over generous pension and medical benefits then everything else has to be cut. 12% raises also to generous

posted by: art vandelay | April 10, 2015  7:26pm

art vandelay

During the Nixon Administration it was called “Stonewalling”

posted by: SocialButterfly | April 10, 2015  8:13pm

Malloy’s camp is the epitome of desperation after the damage has been done.

posted by: SocialButterfly | April 11, 2015  9:02am

Why doesn’t Malloy admit that he has fiscally blundered badly, and he is not just victim of circumstance? He can’t blame the Republicans. Come clean Dannel and let your constituents know that you have guilt on your conscience based on your Christian heritage. Malloy must begin by “being honest with himself without using politics as his moral yerdstick.”

posted by: ocoandasoc | April 11, 2015  10:47pm

Introducing the concept of “lean government” to the Connecticut legislature and the State’s administrative commissioners and agencies is akin to introducing nuclear physics to New Zealand aborigines.

posted by: UpsideDown | April 12, 2015  7:46am

So it appears our 2 faced governor and his time lied to CT residents, again. Gov. Pinocchio stated that he had adopted Lean process principles in his first term. No mention of that here and obviously, makes it untrue given the current state of the state.

posted by: Jim in Mfg | April 12, 2015  10:20am

12 % Ben Barnes and Lean Government.
Jumbo Shrimp
Examples of Oxymorons

posted by: dano860 | April 12, 2015  10:35pm

Dannel has no clue what “lean” is. It isn’t a pant size or word that can be tossed over the fence like his lousy budget.
The Toyota Manufacturing System is the root of all of the ‘just in time’ and ‘lean’ initiatives that were and still are utilized by companies like Pratt & Whitney and General Electric. Over 30 years ago G.E. started the Six Sigma method of identifying opportunities. P&W started its path along the lean manufacturing route about 25 years ago with the assistance of the people that created the Toyota Manufacturing System. Shingijutsu is primary source for the term “Kaizen”. They are a worldwide company, extremely well respected and a corporation that works with companies of every size in many countries.
Why did P&W wait five years? G.E. was cleaning their clock in the stock market. G.E. had the Six Sigma and Black Belts that were training people in their facilities and suppliers. P&W came up with the Achieving Competitive Excellence (A.C.E.) and Pilots that worked in their facility. They also had Kaizen trainers, of which I was one for 12 years prior to my retirement. We were in the Continuous Improvement and were trained by Shingijutsu to facilitate events to identify waste and redundancy.
The actions of the Commissioners and their underlings will be just like the one of the Supervisors and managers at P&W when the lean initiative began there. They will attempt to buffer themselves with employees. They will create documentation and reports espousing their value and worth to the State. They will actively attempt to stay out of the events that will uncover waste. They will jump ship as they realize that their cushy jobs have little value and are redundant and over lapping with others.
It can and should happen but it will take leadership and time. Nothing good or long lasting can happen without in depth training and a whole lot of effort. In the cases of P&W and G.E. the unions were on board with the process. The one thing that most people believe is that layoffs are going to be the results of this action. Not so, it does provide employees with a better work environment and a more fulfilling job because they are the ones that identify the problems that need fixing.
Just do it Dannel, the right way though.

posted by: Noteworthy | April 13, 2015  4:44am

A lean government does not run chronic budget deficits. I don’t know what Malloy is pitching, but it’s not “lean.” Maybe it falls into the category of “shared pain.” The only truth to it was we shared the pain, the state government just got fatter, richer, more bloated and less effective than it had been previously.

posted by: waterboarder | April 14, 2015  6:28am

With all due respect, I am wondering how an administration that is well aware of a Commissioner who continues to bully and abuse her employees is still employed.  Worse I wonder where the administration found nearly a half million dollars to fund the unjust termination of 2 employees who were reinstated with back pay and benefits.  Two additional employees are in arbitration process and will likely cost the state thousands when they are reinstated.

65% of this agency were terminated or forced to resign.  Nearly half of her staff testified to her outrageous behaviors to the Labor Committee SB 1035.  No response from any branch of the government.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to fund programs that the people of CT wasted by one Commissioner with the blessing of the administration.  And while she maintains her appointment she continues to place the State at risk for additional liabilities.

Lean?  What happened to transparent?

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