California has received more than 5,500 suggestions for reducing wasteful spending in the year since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced a new online reporting website.
The tool at CA.gov called Waste Watchers gives state government employees and all citizens a venue for identifying possible instances of waste. Users have the choice of writing in anonymously and all reports are confidential, according to the website. The state wants the submissions to be as detailed as possible, including the state agency or department and names of people involved.
The administration claims that the submissions to the website have resulted in one-time savings of $24.5 million as of Tuesday, July 13. The state has also found $1.3 million in annual savings.
The website includes examples of identified waste and the corrective action taken or an in-progress update. For example, a suggestion that the California Highway Patrol discontinues its practice of professionally detailing patrol cars -- it's allowed only in "extraordinary circumstances" -- the state says it will save $3,000. Some savings are much larger: The highway patrol is working to enact a suggestion that it move to paperless process for accident reports, with an anticipated savings of $300,000.
The Waste Watchers website came from a reader's suggestion during a Sacramento Bee newspaper editorial board, according to state officials. Any Californian can submit a report on the Waste Watchers site, but when launching the website the administration anticipated that state employees, in particular, would have government waste to report and new efficiency measures to recommend.