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Moore unveils guiding plan during state employee town hall

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Moore unveils guiding plan during state employee town hall

Feb 08, 2024 | 9:25 pm ET
By Bryan P. Sears
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Moore unveils guiding plan during state employee town hall
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Maryland Chief Performance Officer Asma Mirza (left) and Gov. Wes Moore (D) during a virtual town hall to roll out the governor's guiding state plan to state employees. Screenshot.

Nearly 13 months into his administration, Gov. Wes Moore (D) unveiled a white paper Thursday that he said will serve as a guiding set of principles for his administration and a way to judge how he is measuring up to his own goals.

The 40-page document known as the State Plan — sometimes shorthanded as “the plan” by Moore and his aides — is a bureaucratic set of matryoshka dolls with measurements nested within objectives within 10 overarching priorities.

“This is going to guide us,” said Moore. “It’s going to show exactly how we need to move and is going to make sure that we have core benchmarks as to what success looks like and what things do we need to adjust in order to make sure we’re accomplishing our larger goal, which is making sure that we’re fulfilling the promise of the state of Maryland, because we’re going to get there and we’re going to have data that backs up our process.”

Since taking office Moore has committed to several lofty — some say hard to achieve — goals. Topping those is the elimination of childhood poverty.

“This is the reason that I ran for governor personally,” the governor said Thursday.

Also on the list of priorities, in the administration’s summary of the plan:

  • Setting students up for success
  • Creating an equitable, robust, and competitive economy
  • Connecting Marylanders to jobs
  • Creating safer communities
  • Making Maryland a desirable an affordable home for all residents
  • Advancing infrastructure to better connect Marylanders to better opportunities and each other
  • Ensuring world-class health systems for Marylanders
  • Making Maryland a leader in clean energy and the greenest state in the country
  • Making Maryland a state that serves

Moore highlighted the coming of the plan in his State of the State Speech Wednesday. In the hours that followed, aides briefed reporters before the governor hosted a nonprofit-style virtual town hall meeting for thousands of the state’s 48,000 employees.

The governor, shirt sleeves rolled up, held forth in his reception room in front of a small audience of senior staffers and Asma Mirza, his chief performance officer.

Moore unveils guiding plan during state employee town hall
Maryland Chief Performance Officer Asma Mirza. Photo by Bryan P. Sears.

Mirza was hired last summer and tasked with designing and implementing “strategies to enhance performance and service delivery.”

“The state plan truly has been a team effort to get to this place and I’m really excited for what comes next, which is turning the governor’s and lieutenant governor’s incredibly ambitious agenda and vision into reality for Marylanders.” Mirza said.

Another 5,500 employees watched live online. A spokesperson for Moore noted that the stream had more than 8,400 unique individuals during the roughly 43-minute presentation, which included slides narrated by the governor.

Moore took just three questions, one from a deputy cabinet secretary and two others pre-selected from written questions submitted earlier.

It is not clear how, or if, Moore’s plan will directly affect state employees.

Administration officials stress that the governor, in his effort to “rebuild state government, is also recasting it to match his vision. The plan, they said, is modeled after similar efforts of state governments, corporations, and nonprofits

Last year Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) rolled out a similar effort.

The One Minnesota Plan establishes measurable goals in 15 areas including child and family well-being, public safety, housing stability and customer experience.

Agencies in that state were required to publish plans on how each would work toward the priority areas.

For the better part of a decade, Maryland has published a “managing for results” report. The document highlights the mission of each agency and is also meant to provide clear goals and measure progress toward those goals.

Moore and his staff said his effort is a refresh of that idea and could one day include data dashboards for the public to track progress. There is no timeline for when those dashboards would be available to the public.

In 2010, then-Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) published a similar white paper. The 26-page One Maryland Plan identified six key areas of focus for O’Malley including improving safety nets for families, economic growth, the environment, education, and public safety.

O’Malley also relied on StateStat, a data-driven review of state government. It was a refinement of CitiStat — a descendant of the New York City Police Department’s CompStat — that O’Malley used when he was mayor of Baltimore.

Several of Moore’s transition team members had connections to the O’Malley administration. Some of O’Malley’s former staffers are in the Moore camp. Moore’s budget director, Helene Grady, is the wife of Matthew Gallagher, O’Malley’s former chief of staff.

Moore said his efforts would also be driven by data.

“I do know that data matters,” Moore said. “We don’t make decisions without data. And that’s exactly how a state needs to operate.”