Earlier today, the Governor released the following press release. He’s going to shutter the Department of Finance; however, he will not be reducing any people, other than losing retired Dupont CFO, Gary Pfeiffer. So, Dupont’s former CFO leaves and Senator Nancy Cook’s (powerful longtime chair of the budget writing Committee. She was first elected in 1974) son will be Mr. Pfeiffer’s replacement. I can see why the Governor didn’t want to announce this while the General Assembly was still in session. Ouch!
Also, a third of the press release is related to Republican Minority Leader Dick Cathcart’s demand that the Governor guarantee a reduction of 500 State employees through attrition. If it weren’t for Cathcart, the press release would have been much smaller. Kudos to the Minority Leader.
Markell Recommends Eliminating Department of Finance and Consolidating Functions Into Other Agencies
Cook Named Acting Secretary as Pfeiffer Retires
DOVER – Following through on his commitment to make Delaware’s government smaller and more efficient, Governor Jack Markell today announced a proposal to eliminate the state’s Department of Finance and consolidate its functions into other state agencies. With this announcement, the planning process to transfer the department’s responsibilities to existing state agencies has begun.
“Government needs to be smaller and my administration is committed to making that happen in a thoughtful way,” Markell said.
“Last week, that meant eliminating hundreds of positions from the state budget. Today, it means proposing to consolidate the functions of an entire department, which will capture significant savings and efficiencies,” said Markell, who signed a budget last week that de-authorized 485 positions in state government and that spends significantly less than the year before.
“Just like businesses and individual households, state government must cut costs during these difficult economic times. I believe this initiative will do that, while still maintaining and performing the important functions performed previously by the Department of Finance,” Markell said. The Department currently houses the Division of Accounting, the Division of Revenue and the State Lottery office, which also oversees the state’s Racinos.
While this initiative will not require layoffs, the Governor is committed to significantly reducing the number of state employees by aggressively and carefully managing attrition. Over time, as service delivery is made more efficient, as employees are transferred to other responsibilities and as the state carefully manages attrition, there will be fewer employees providing the combined array of services across departments.
His first day in office, Markell launched his ongoing “Honest Assessment” of state government to drive down costs and make government more efficient, effective, responsive and responsible. As part of that effort, Secretary of Finance Gary Pfeiffer, who was the Chief Financial Officer at DuPont, determined that the state could be run as effectively and, over time, less expensively, without the Department of Finance existing as a stand-alone department. As a result, Secretary Pfeiffer recommended the elimination of Department of Finance, with its functions consolidated into other state agencies.
Pfeiffer has resigned as Secretary of Finance and Markell has named Deputy Secretary Tom Cook to the role of Acting Secretary to lead the Department’s transition until the legislature can formally pass legislation to accomplish the transfer of these functions.
“Gary’s experience was an important factor in getting us through the historic challenge of an $800 million shortfall. We appreciate his service and his guidance. His fresh set of eyes and experience helped make clear that citizens can still be served without the Department of Finance existing independently from other agencies,” Markell said. “Acting-Secretary Cook brings decades of experience within state government that will be important to maintaining service levels and the orderly transfer of responsibilities into other agencies.”
Prior to his job as Deputy Secretary of Finance, Cook worked for the Office of Information Systems and the Department of State and served as Delaware’s Commissioner of Elections.
“Tom Cook works as hard as anyone I have ever seen in either the public or private sectors. He has the drive and the knowledge to make the Governor’s recommendation a reality and help lead this significant step to shrink the size of government,” Pfeiffer said.
Cook added: “The Governor has made his vision for a smaller, more effective and efficient government clear. We will get to work implementing it immediately while maintaining our levels of service to the citizens. I am honored by the opportunity to help make that change a reality.”