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Arizona’s Management Philosophy For State Agencies Continues To Pay Dividends

May 15, 2022

By Terri Jo Neff |

Shortly after being sworn into office more than seven years ago, Gov. Doug Ducey made it clear to the heads of every state agency that he wanted the needs of residents to be better served and to make Arizona an attractive location for businesses.

The result was the rollout of the Arizona Management System (AMS), a results-driven philosophy which empowers state employees to identify ways to make the government work more efficiently while eliminating waste, all with an emphasis on enhancing customer service. And AMS is paying dividends, according to several agency directors who recently provided updates to Ducey.  

Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services

Building upon Arizona’s commitment to veterans, the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services embraced AMS to identify and work to solve the root causes of veteran suicides. Stakeholders -including the Department, the Governor’s Office, and the Arizona Coalition for Military Families- came together with a different approach to veteran suicide prevention.

The result, according to Col. Wanda Wright, is Arizona’s Be Connected program, which was recognized by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs with the 2021 Abraham Lincoln Pillars of Excellence Award.  

Arizona Department of Water Resources

Drought response and preparedness plays a vital role in guiding Arizona Department of Water Resources, but there was a time that the state’s water professionals had limited involvement in federal strategic planning related to drought.

Under AMS, ADWR expanded its network of experts in academia, the private sector, and industry groups to lead statewide drought planning efforts. One outcome, according to ADWR Director Tom Buschatzke, is Arizona’s active participation in the Intermountain West Drought Early Warning System.

Arizona Department of Transportation

Prior to integrating the AMS philosophy in Arizona Department of Transportation projects, stakeholders often complained that deadlines were of higher concern than local impacts. But with AMS in place, Director John S. Halikowski says ADOT employees are applying several innovative approaches to keep vehicles -and commerce- moving during construction projects to minimize potentially disruptive restrictions and closures.

Arizona Department of Environmental Quality

Misael Cabrera was named director of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality shortly after Ducey announced the AMS initiative in 2015. In response, ADEQ has developed the “My Community” dashboard to provide environmental and demographic map data on its website. The timely information is accessible via an easy-to-use, online tool the public can use to understand what ADEQ is doing to address environmental issues in various communities.

Arizona Department of Housing

Another state agency which embraced the AMS philosophy early on is the Arizona Department of Housing. It saw several increases in efficiency by implementing a more visual method of keeping staff updated on deadlines and department goals. And that has continued since Director Tom Simplot took the helm in 2021, with an emphasis on faster inspections and decision-making. More information on how AMS is improving state agencies is available here.

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