ND Legislature Looks To Increase Rewards For State Employees Finding Efficiencies

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Back in November of last year I wrote about an incentive program for North Dakota State Employees. The State Emplmoyee Suggestion Incentive Program had, at the time, been around for about 19 years and according to an open records request had paid out $36,189.70 to employees for suggestions which had resulted in $539,848.88.

Below is the full chart I received from the Office of the State Insurance Commissioner (which, for some reason, tracks the program). My favorite suggestion is the one to stop using telegrams. Because apparently we were still doing that.

I bring this up because the legislature is now considering expanding the program:

BISMARCK, N.D. (GPN) – North Dakota state workers have an incentive program that encourages them to suggest ways to save taxpayer money.

For years the bonus has been capped at $2,000. The North Dakota Senate on Monday unanimously approved raising it to $4,000.

Bismarck Sen. Nicole Poolman says the change could prompt employees to look for bigger savings in state government operations.

Currently employees get 20% of any savings from their suggestions, up to the cap.

I like this program a lot. It’s easy to forget, at times, that our government does have a lot of people working for it who do care about their jobs. Who do want to do a better job, and who don’t want to run up unnecessary costs for the taxpayers.

Providing incentives for these people is a good idea.

North Dakota Employee Suggestion Incentive History by

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • Anti-NCAA

    Rob, adding to your last sentences in the first paragraph “resulted in $539,848.88 in savings to our state.”

    If you look at it closely it’s only about $2,000 issued for each year of its existence. That’s not much monies going out as compared to what it is saved all citizens of North Dakota in the past two decades. That likely means there isn’t much opportunity to cut anymore than was has already been cut; not that there aren’t some inefficiencies we could still look for, of course.

    When public law dictates adding government staff (i.e. lottery, higher ed., highway patrol, human services, etc.) you really can’t cut back on salaries and benefits. Each new position also compounds the amounts of state funds to carry those additional positions well into the future and rarely do those positions come off the books. It’s a vicious cycle….

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      I think you’re misunderstanding this program. It’s not about cutting back salaries. It’s about public employees making suggestions about where to save money.

      Such as using a different vendor for supplies or something.

      • Anti-NCAA

        No, I get that. I’m just referencing there haven’t been lots of awards distributed in the past 19 years. I think it conveys that our state does have LOTS of wiggle room and operates pretty efficiently, all things being equal.

        There are savings realized, but it’s not like there were thousands of awards issued over the past 19yrs.

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