February 27, 2013 By Jessica Mulholland
Randy Cole is a tireless advocate for shared services. Not only does he get much of the credit for driving Ohio’s groundbreaking efforts in shared services, but he’s also adept at bringing all parties to the table.
“First you have to take the time to reach out and invite them,” he said. “That doesn’t always happen in this business. Second, you have to ask them for their ideas, concerns and challenges. I learned a long time ago not to present solutions before I knew what the problem was.”
Cole says shared services’ value goes beyond cost savings. “When two or more government agencies or schools begin to earnestly work together, there is almost a snowball effect of opportunities to become more efficient.”
Cole engages all parties, and he conducts outreach on shared services topics using local news articles. “It’s clear that our schools and local governments must find new and more creative ways to reduce their costs and improve efficiency,” he wrote in a December 2012 issue of The Repository. “Knowing that shared services can help resolve this dilemma, Gov. John Kasich’s administration released a comprehensive plan of action, Beyond Boundaries: A Shared Services Action Plan for Ohio Schools and Governments.”
Completion of this plan, Cole says — combined with getting almost immediate legislative approval of four of its key recommendations — is one of his proudest accomplishments.
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