Parson moves forward to reorganize the government

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JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Mike Parson announced Tuesday plans to restructure four state agencies and promote economic development is in the next phase. 

"My administration is committed to continuing to demand greater efficiency and accountability from our state agencies and improve customer service to all Missourians," Parson said. 

Parson believes these changes will create more job opportunities and increase efficiency in the state government. 

"We are moving forward to transform government first starting with the Department of Corrections by consolidating two correction facilities allowing us to improve employee pay and better staff our facilities and a savings of over $20 million," Parson said. 

One major change in reorganization is the Department of Economic Development (DED) will now focus on different regions of the state instead of evaluating the state as a whole. The department will also focus on community and local businesses, the DED director Rob Dixon said.

"We're going to working with our local partners at the community level based on local priorities, not based on one size fits all approach," he said. 

Dixon said this new approach will pay more attention to the customer.

"We're going to be customer-centric. We're going to be delivering solutions to problems, not simply just administering program after program but really working with them to identify solutions that are standing in a way for businesses growing and expanding in our state," he said.

Dixon said this strategy will help businesses address specific workforce needs during the hiring and training process. 

Parson and Dixon also plan to use research and data to evaluate the state's economic development. 

"We're going to be data driven. We shouldn't wait 10 years to reevaluate our economic development strategy while the world and while the economy around us changes," Dixon said. 

Though Missouri's economy is improving, Parson said many of other states in the Midwest are exceeding Missouri's economic development at a faster rate. 

"Among our 13 Midwest peers, we've been 14th in GDP, ninth for job growth, and eighth for wage growth," Parson said. 

A news release from the governor's office includes other changes to government reorganization: 

  • The Division of Workforce Development and Missouri Economic Research and Information Center will move to the Department of Higher Education to establish a single resource in state government for all postsecondary education options.
  • The Division of Energy will return to the Department of Natural Resources.
  • The Office of Public Counsel and the Public Service Commission will join similarly structured Tier III regulatory agencies at the newly named Department of Commerce and Insurance.
  • The Missouri Arts Council will be elevated to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.

As agencies leave the DED, Dixon said this is an effort to better services for citizens. 

"Having that one stop shop, that one agency that has the full range and the full purview of the postsecondary options is key to economic development. That's exactly why these changes are being made," Dixon said.

Parson said this process is preparing the government for this reorganization. The next phase will be when the state's fiscal year will begin on July 1.

"As an elected state leader, my job is to focus on the importance of outcomes in state government. We must do a better job clearly identifying expectations and priorities and ensure our agencies are structured in the best way to meet those goals," Parson said.  

Parson's executive order will take effect on Aug. 28.