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State workers, you can win up to $10,000 for your ideas to save Washington money

By Gabrielle Feliciano, The Olympian
Published: June 4, 2024, 10:49am

Jun. 4—State workers can earn recognition and up to $10,000 from the Productivity Board through a state employee incentive program the Secretary of State’s Office has relaunched. The program rewards employee proposals that increase government efficiency and save the state money, according to a news release.

Individual state workers submit proposals through the Secretary of State’s Employee Suggestion Program. Two or more state workers submit proposals for larger process improvements through the Office’s Teamwork Incentive Program.

“I encourage all state employees to submit proposals,” said Secretary of State Steve Hobbs in a statement. “Your ideas could increase state productivity, improve service and working conditions, generate revenue, conserve energy or save money.”

The Productivity Board voted unanimously on Thursday to recognize and award two state workers up to $200 each for their proposals to save Washington money.

Nathan Wilson, a state Department of Corrections psychology associate, developed diagnostic support tools for expediting the mental health assessment process in JavaScript and Phase Express. The DOC estimates Wilson’s tools to be implemented in June.

David Halpern, a retired state Parks and Recreation park ranger, discovered the retirement process could involve fewer requirements and paperwork by providing a single packet of instructions. The Commission implemented Halpern’s discovery in early May.

The Secretary of State’s Office has received over 65 proposals since the program’s relaunch.

“I am thrilled so many of Washington’s public employees have been encouraged to submit their innovative, cost-saving ideas,” Hobbs said in a statement.

The Washington State Legislature created the Productivity Board in 1982, according to a news release. The program saved Washington millions of dollars before it shut down in 2011 because of budget constraints.