Dear Secretary Wood:
As Governor, I have been clear that my goal is to look for ways to boldly reform state government to be more responsive and responsible to the taxpayers of our great state.
One of the largest costs for any department within my administration is personnel. There are many good and hard-working Arkansans that are employed by the state to perform essential services and help their fellow citizens. These public servants should be compensated and rewarded through a system based on merit and accomplishment, not solely on years of service.
Therefore, I will not support a broad-based pay plan increase in the classification and compensation bill. The hardworking taxpayers of Arkansas should not be saddled with the $80 million price tag from such a proposal that doesn’t consider the strategic needs that exist in education, public safety, health care, and corrections.
Today, I am directing the Department of Transformation and Shared Services to review and rework the existing classification and compensation structure of the state. Arkansas should not have more state employees per capita than all our surrounding states. It’s long-past time to reduce the size and scope of government, identify efficiencies, and responsibly phase out the income tax. Through my executive order in January, I am directing my departments to lower overall staffing levels, but I want to empower my departments to be innovative in restructuring and changing the system from within. My end goal is to be responsible to Arkansans by ensuring their dollars are being used efficiently and effectively, and that citizens are receiving the level of service and attention needed from these departments.
The Office of Personnel Management is directed to work with each department to produce a strategic plan to accomplish a reduction in overall staffing, while staying within the existing appropriation of each agency. By the end of this calendar year, OPM will provide my office with a report of the changes needed to accomplish these three goals. I will then determine the next steps to work with the General Assembly to make an impactful change on our personnel system.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders
Governor of Arkansas