Photo of Governor Gregoire

We need to make sure we have a government for the 21st century so our workers and businesses can compete with anyone in the world. ”

Government Accountability & Reform

Governor Chris Gregoire is committed to building trust and confidence in state government. She holds every state employee personally accountable for doing his or her part to move Washington forward. The Governor has taken the following actions to deliver on this commitment.

Focus on performance

  • Created the Government Management Accountability and Performance to hold state agencies accountable for delivering results. This tool enables Governor Gregoire to evaluate the results programs are achieving and to take action publicly to make course corrections.

  • Promoted use of performance audits, another tool to improve state government.

  • Uses the Priorities of Government budgeting process. We use this clear, straight-forward approach to establish the state’s highest priorities and identify how we can invest our resources to get the greatest possible return.

  • Conducts performance assessments to determine if agencies are making progress toward goals. These assessments improve the quality of the performance measurement information used by the Office of Financial Management and the Legislature during the budget development process.

Reform Washington state government

Governor Gregoire’s proposals to reform Washington state government were the first step in a comprehensive effort to fundamentally revamp the way programs and services are provided throughout the state. Her strategy:

1. Implement Lean principles, methods and tools

In December 2011, the Governor directed agencies throughout state government to use Lean principles and methods to improve value for taxpayers' money. Washington state is on a long-term journey to adapt Lean to state government. Learn more about Lean in Washington state government.

2. Reduce the size of the bureaucracy

The state will continue to consolidate similar functions and cut government’s internal red tape for services needed by agencies, and begin the groundwork for other major changes including eliminating unnecessary boards and commissions. Learn more about affected boards and commissions.

3. Streamline government operations

The state consolidated similar functions and cut barriers to internal red tape for services needed by all agencies, and began the groundwork for other major changes, including reorganizing the Department of Commerce. Governor Gregoire signed legislation in 2011 that consolidated central service agencies. The Department of Enterprise Services consolidates the departments of General Administration, Printing and parts of the departments of Information Services, Personnel and the Office of Financial Management.  

4. Deliver 21st century customer service

Washington has been a national leader for years in using technology to serve customers — for example, nearly 40 percent of license tabs are renewed online — but we can do much more. During Gregoire’s administration, she established a single point of entry for citizens to find state government jobs and created a ‘one front door’ policy to make it easier for the public to access environmental services scattered across multiple offices. The Governor also banned bureaucratic jargon and requires all agencies to use Plain Talk to write clear letters, applications and instructions when communicating with Washingtonians.

Steps we have taken during unprecedented economic times

  • Asked citizens and state employees for ideas. In July 2010, we asked citizens to submit their cost-saving and reform ideas. In less than one month, we received nearly 2,000 submissions. In October 2011, we asked state employees to submit more cost-saving and reform ideas.

  • Conducted public hearings in 2010 in locations across the state. We showed citizens the decisions we face and the money that will be available to us. We heard about which programs are most important to you.

  • Engaged business and labor leaders. The Governor convened an advisory group of business and labor leaders to assist in charting the vision for government reform.

  • Statewide performance review. Governor Gregoire asked State Auditor Brian Sonntag to assist her in examining state practices and helping agencies to establish a 21st century way of doing business. Learn more about the statewide performance review.