with Marybel Batjer, Secretary of the California Government Operations Agency (CalGovOps)
Posted Dec 22, 2017
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Four years ago, CA Gov. Jerry Brown recruited Marybel Batjer to overhaul the way CA government work. CalGovOps, the California Government Operations Agency, works to create effective processes to state government, while increasing efficiency and accountability.
Interview recorded on November 30, 2017.
Read a partial transcript of this interview below:
Traynham: In 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown created the Government Operations Agency -- CalGovOps, as the agency is known. It's working to overhaul the way California government works, to increase efficiency and also accountability. Hello, everyone, and welcome to ""Comcast Newsmakers."" I'm Robert Traynham. Joining me is Marybel Batjer, Secretary of the California Government Operations Agency. Marybel is an honoree of the 2017 Governing magazine's Public Official of the Year. Welcome to the program and congratulations.
Batjer: Thank you very much, Robert.
Traynham: So, it's clear that state governments clearly want to operate more efficiently. They want to use, obviously, taxpayer dollars and resources in the most effective way. Walk us through, specifically, what you do in Sacramento and on behalf of all Californians.
Batjer: It's a big order. [ Both laugh ] I often say, "I don't use the word 'efficiency'" I use the word "effective".
Batjer: What we're trying to do at GovOps is to bring effective processes to state government and, most importantly, to the people we serve. So, we're doing many things. Government Operations Agency has 11 departments in it. Some are independent boards like CalPERS and CalSTRS -- the two largest pension funds in the country, public pension funds -- and the State Personnel Board, and the Office of Administrative Law. Then we have the three control agencies -- terrible word, but that's what we call them -- and they are Department of General Services, the Department of CalHR runs all the personnel policies in the state, and then the Department of Technology that procures and oversees all of the I.T. programs in the state. What we are trying to do is bring effectiveness within all of those areas that are the "control agencies" within the state.
Traynham: I'm curious to know, Marybel, how often you use evidence to make decisions. In other words, the data, if you will...
Batjer: Oh, absolutely.
Traynham: ...to actually make the decision for you. This is what the data's telling us. This is what we need to do to address a particular situation. Is that part of the thread --
Batjer: Oh, absolutely. We are driving toward data decision-making. In California, we have had some of that, but in GovOps, we are developing a culture and a philosophy toward performance management. And performance management is driven by data. And one of the things we are doing is bringing about greater analytics to the use of data. I think we've been a little slow to get there, frankly. We have classifications in state government that need updating, so we can recruit the right people that can utilize the data appropriately, that can drive the performance of an organization. So, we're working hard on that. I'm glad you brought that up.