BATON ROUGE – DOTD Secretary Johnny B. Bradberry told a legislative committee on Wednesday the agency is changing to focus on efficiency, customer service and maximizing tax dollars.
“We are changing the way we do business at DOTD,” Bradberry said.
Bradberry told members of the Joint Transportation, Highway and Public Works Committee that DOTD will face the challenge of maintaining and improving Louisiana’s infrastructure by changing the way it does its work. Bradberry’s focus on work efficiencies, better management and process improvement is consistent with Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco’s direction for DOTD to do more work with the money it has.
Since October, DOTD has been working on a Process Improvement Initiative in which DOTD employees and transportation partners dissected 12 internal processes. Those teams developed and studied “as is” models of the work processes, assessed how the processes could be improved and developed “to be” models. Many of those changes will be fully realized as DOTD goes through the implementation stage of the initiative.
But Bradberry stressed to the committee that there are some “quick hits” that DOTD has already begun and others the agency plans on implementing immediately. Those include:
- Further accelerating the TIMED program by two years.
- Shifting funds to improve state roads that are no longer eligible for federal funding
- Taking a hard line on replacing non-critical vacancies
- Linking individual employees’ goals to departmental goals by changing the performance assessment approach and cycle time
- Increasing emphasis on work ethic, professionalism, leadership accountability and disciplinary actions
- Increasing focus on internal and external communications
- Initiating a change management philosophy and commitment
- Committing resources to continuous improvement
- Increasing emphasis on customer service
Bradberry told committee members that DOTD faces some financial challenges, especially in light of the possibility of increased federal revenues. To spend those funds on Louisiana roads, DOTD must ensure it has enough state money to provide a match.
DOTD’s main source of state money is the Transportation Trust Fund, which is funded by a gasoline tax. Because that tax is based on the gallon, not the price of gas, the fund does not keep up with inflation, meaning DOTD’s main source of state revenue has been relatively flat for about 20 years.
To help meet those financial challenges, and in keeping with the move toward efficiency, Bradberry also announced a staffing goal of ±4,800 employees by December 2007. DOTD currently is authorized to have about 5,225 employees.
Bradberry noted that about 450 employees resign or retire from DOTD each year, so the 4,800-employee goal should be reached through attrition, increased work efficiencies, elimination of unnecessary positions and increased outsourcing. No layoffs are planned but may be needed if other methods do not bring the employee count to the 4,800 level.
Bradberry told committee members that change might bring some temporary “organizational disarray” to DOTD. But he stressed that change leads to opportunities, including improved methods and processes, paradigm shifts that can increase morale and the emergence of leaders throughout the organization once employees are given the opportunity to unleash their creativity and innovation.