Once upon a time, Governor Douglas had nine Tiger Teams, and now Phil Scott wants one of his own. If you’re thinking these are bad kung-fu action movies, you’re off the mark; instead they’re teams of officials created to prowl through state government, supposedly looking for inefficiencies and ways to save money. I don’t remember if the nine Douglas Tiger Teams ever actually accomplished anything, but Phil Scott says he will form a very similar group.
I know this because of his crowing on twitter that he is “…the only candidate w/ a plan to modernization [sic] State Govt.” These declarations of his seem to occur at surprisingly regular intervals — but that’s what Twitter is for, I guess.
Scott says: “On the first day I am Governor, I will sign an executive order creating the Government Modernization & Efficiency Team (GMET).” And I can’t begin to guess why on day one. You know, god save-our-souls and have mercy on the state of Vermont if he doesn’t get to this on his FIRST freakin’ DAY, should he become governor! I wonder: is Phil liable to forget to do this if he waits a day or two?
Anyway, Scott’s proposed GME Team will be overseen by Vermont’s Chief Information Officer. According to the campaign website, the team’s areas of interest include: increasing operational efficiency, accounting improvements for IT projects, consolidating and streamlining and/or automate services (layoffs?) to name a few.
But like the Douglas Tiger Teams of yore, Phil’s GME Team may prove a handy cover for a little Republican budget slash n’ burn “In addition to the limits we would impose on budget growth, our goal will be to reduce the current operational cost of every agency and department by one cent for every dollar currently spent, in my first year in office. This could generate as much as $55 million in savings.”
One of the Douglas’ Tiger Team so called “savings,” highlighted in his 2010 budget address, was a proposal to cap certain types of ER visits funded through Medicaid. This Medicaid “savings” (along with earlier proposed cuts to mental healthcare providers’ salaries) were heavily criticized because advocates said it would have made it harder for Vermonters in need to get proper health care.
Scott’s GME Team proposal gives little hint at any specific cuts, but it sure looks like his version of the Tiger Team will be wearing the same stripes as ones from the Douglas era.