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Report now on Riley's desk

By By JOHN DILMORE JR. Publisher
This holiday season, Governor Bob Riley is being treated to a pair of gifts from Alabama's business community -- two reports offering their opinions on how to run the state more efficiently, and thereby renew taxpayers' trust in their elected leaders.
Riley has sought out the input, which comes from two groups of business leaders.
The first group is the Business Council of Alabama's (BCA) Task Force on Governmental Change and Management Reform. The second is the state-created Governor's Commission on Efficiency, Consolidation and Funding (GCECF).
The BCA Task Force's findings were delivered to Riley last week. The GCECF report will find its way to the governor's desk the first week in January.
The aim of both groups is to apply a businessperson's way of thinking to how state government is run.
Brewton businesswoman Carol Gordy, who serves on both the BCA Task force and the GCECF, said that the groups' work has facilitated many good ideas -- and that she believes those ideas are being taken to heart.
Gordy serves as co-chair of the BCA Task Forces' Committee on Accountability and Efficiency.
That committee's portion of the recently delivered report offered a number of reform-minded ideas, among them:
Gordy said that her guiding principle in co-charing the committee was that, "Government should be absolutely transparent. There should be a light shone on everything that's done, and all the money that's spent."
The report -- which comes in at 150 pages in length -- also contains recommendations from three other committees, having to do with performance-based management, public employer/educator benefits and education reform.
The BCA Task Force and the GCECF began meeting at the State Capitol in October, not long after Aalabama voters resoundingly rejected Riley's sweeping $1.2 billion tax package by a greater than two-to-one margin.
The groups' mandate has been in keeping with what that election's results revealed about the collective mindset of Alabama taxpayers.
One way of changing that attitude that Gordy and others on her committee endorse is creation of a permanent citizen oversight committee, that would serve as a "watchdog" to monitor state spending. "I think that because of the political climate now, that would be very well received," Gordy said.