David Schumacher, director of the state Office of Financial Management (OFM) and Jay Inslee’s budget director, testified before state House Appropriations Committee yesterday—the first day of the 2015 legislative cycle. During his testimony, Schumacher admitted that Inslee’s “LEAN” project to make state government more efficient is not working. Schumacher said,
“Our ability to save significant, meaning 20’s, 50’s, 100 million dollars, out of LEAN is not very realistic and I think the savings will show up more in the 1’s and 2’s of millions and perhaps in reduced waiting times for customers.” [emphasis added]
Schumacher’s statement is contrary to Inslee’s previous claims regarding progress toward lean management. Just last month Inslee released a LEAN report via his Results Washington initiative. The report claimed that Inslee’s program resulted in $5.92 million in savings, $27.4 million in costs avoided and $3.16 million in additional revenue. Inslee’s budget assumes about $40 million in LEAN savings. He boasted of LEAN’s ability to save the state money in a recent interview.
Yet, yesterday, Inslee’s budget director admitted that all those savings are not attributable to LEAN and that some are likely from other efficiencies. Schumacher admitted that it could not be said that the $40 million in savings is the result of LEAN. Rather, he said, “The actual LEAN savings are quite a bit smaller than that.”
Schumacher went on to acknowledge that the main use of LEAN has been in absorbing agency cuts—LEAN has not been successful in creating saving on its own. When GOP Rep. JT Wilcox asked if Schumacher’s admission that LEAN does not produce new cost savings was the result of changed assumptions by the Governor’s office, Schumacher said it was not. Despite the evidence, Inslee’s office has not changed its assumptions regarding LEAN.
As Shift reported, candidate Inslee campaigned on a reform agenda that would renew taxpayers’ faith in government by establishing “lean management” practices—a laughable campaign promise in hindsight based on the “performance” of the Inslee’s administration. The promise of lean management is just another example of Inslee’s habit of saying one thing while campaigning, and breaking that promise once elected – like not raising taxes for instance.