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Window on State Government

Government Performance Task Force

May 10, 2000

Comptroller's Office Hears Pay-For- Performance Issues in Houston

Poor performers in the workplace cannot be ignored under pay for performance initiatives, according to testimony given at Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander's e-Texas Government Performance Task Force public hearing in Houston.

"We need to reward good performers and identify poor performers," said Belinda Schmidt, manager for benchmarking for the American Productivity and Quality Center in Houston. "This allows for the training and managing of the poor performers to be good performers."   More-->

John Fainter, Task Force Commissioner

Texas' state government includes more than 200 state agencies and institutions of higher education. The cost of their operations totaled $87.1 billion for the 1998-99 biennium and is expected to climb to $98.1 billion for the next budget period.

Many state agencies are relatively small and deal with a limited number of customers, but no matter the agency's size, each should be run as efficiently as possible. That is what Texans expect—and deserve. State government must remain aware of the evolving needs of its customers and meet these needs with the best service at the best cost, using the most up-to-date technology.

The current state budget process employs strategic planning to focus on agency performance, with an emphasis on results. The Legislative Budget Board tracks agency performance and reports each agency's progress toward specific performance targets; the State Auditor's Office checks the reliability and accuracy of these measures.

The goal of the state budget process is to guarantee quality service by applying the following principles:

  1. An overarching emphasis on performance and achievement.
  2. A focus on results.
  3. A streamlined, simplified budget process.
  4. Standardized unit costs for all programs.
  5. Achievement monitoring of key performance measures.
  6. Priority-based allocations.
  7. Rewards and penalties for success and failure.

To build on such processes, many private companies, the federal government, and a number of local governments are using the "Balanced Scorecard" approach—a method that links short- and long-term activities with the organization's mission through the establishment of measurable, agreed-upon goals.

To help ensure that state government is organized as efficiently as possible and is responsive to Texans' needs and concerns, the Government Performance team will examine a broad spectrum of issues and offer recommendations to increase efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of state government by:

  • Evaluating the use of performance measures in the budgeting process
  • Improving customer service
  • Improving intra-governmental communication and relationships
  • Reducing unnecessary duplication
Through the use of best practices, benchmarking, research and stakeholder input. Issues and recommendations developed by the team will affect virtually all state agencies. We will build on past work in these areas and explore new options to improve the performance of Texas state government.

e-Texas is an initiative of Carole Keeton Rylander, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Post Office Box 13528, Capitol Station
Austin, Texas

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