RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Republican hopeful for governor Ed Gillespie on Wednesday laid out his plan to make Virginia the “best-managed state in the country.”
Gillespie says his plan will create a smaller, more efficient and better-compensated workforce by eliminating 1,000 government positions.
This wouldn’t be done by layoffs. Instead, Gillespie says they’d take advantage of a looming “retirement cliff.”
“Over the course of the next governorship, nearly a quarter of our state workforce is eligible to retire,” he said.
Gillespie said, instead of rehiring for certain positions, they’d look to new technology, streamlining and automation to fill the gap.
Half of the savings from those paychecks would go toward compensating existing employees and recruiting.
Gillespie also wants to appoint a COO to oversee efficiency and quality of the citizen experience. The job would be modeled after those in states like Arizona, Nebraska, Tennessee and Missouri.
His plan also calls for creating The Commonwealth Solutions Center, which the COO would oversee. The office would be tasked with identifying $200 million in taxpayer savings.
Other bullet points in his newly-rolled out policy include hosting a good government hackathon, evidence-based policy making and zero-based budgeting.
“A dollar saved today can save 10 down the line,” he said.
The plan also calls for a “citizen experience redesign” when it comes to interacting with state government. Gillespie said he wants to institute a dashboard on the government’s website so citizens can hold their leaders accountable.
“I understand the importance of a customer service mentality,” said Gillespie. “I will instill that mentality in the state workforce.”
Speaker-designee Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) says this is “another policy that separates Ed from all the other candidates.”
“A lot of times reporters have to be the watchdog. Ed’s going to be his own watchdog,” said Cox.
Cox predicts the workforce will get behind it, too.
“State employees are going to like this plan. They’re going to want to be involved more.”
But not everyone is on board. Both of Gillespie’s republican opponents in the race for governor critiqued the plan Wednesday.
Corey Stewart called it “a lobbyist’s dream.”
In a release, Stewart said in part that the plan would mean increased spending, more programs and more layers of government.
“Ed brings Virginia a long list of pie-in-the-sky ideas with flowery, corporate and business lingo he paid his PR firm a mint for, but he never gets down to brass tacks – HOW is he actually going to cut spending?” Stewart said in the release.
The third republican in the race, Frank Wagner, also questioned the plan.
“I read what Ed Gillespie put out and that is exactly out of the handbook that D.C. has been trying to run on. The federal government is one of the most mismanaged operations. Virginia is one of the best. Ed Gillespie is trying to bring failed programs from D.C. and instill them in state government,” said Wagner. “Typical of a Washington, D.C. insider.”
The primary election is June 13.