SEMO News Service
JEFFERSON CITY -- Southeast Missouri residents will have an opportunity to offer ideas on how state government can be improved when a panel pursuing an overhaul of state operations meets Friday in Cape Girardeau.
Gov. Matt Blunt created the Missouri Government Review Commission by executive order in January to formulate recommendations for the first major restructuring of state government in 30 years.
The commission held several public hearings in the Missouri Capitol this spring and in the summer began gathering input elsewhere in the state. The Cape Girardeau hearing will begin at 9 a.m. Friday at the Show Me Center. Commission co-chairman Stephen Bradford of Cape Girardeau said he has been impressed with the public turnout and ideas offered to date.
"People are very interested, serious and concerned about their state government," Bradford said.
The commission's charge is limited to the basic structure of state agencies and changes that might help them better serve the public.
Ideas for consideration could include consolidating agencies to eliminate duplicative services or dividing larger agencies for smoother operations. The commission does not have jurisdiction over public policy matters or state spending decisions.
"What we are looking for is to get recommendations from individuals and organizations about what their ideas are for how to make a more efficient state government," Bradford said.
Those who wish to testify are encouraged to register in advance by calling Ryan Burson, the commission's staff director, at (573) 751-2345 or through the panel's Web site at review.mo.gov. Advance registration, however, isn't mandatory.
"We certainly will entertain folks who would like to walk in and testify," Burson said.
After its final public hearing is held July 29 at Kirksville, the commission will begin the process of crafting recommendations. Although Blunt is asking it to complete its work by early March, Bradford said the commission plans to issue a report by the end of November.
Depending on their scope, recommendations Blunt chooses to pursue could be implemented either through executive orders, statutory changes by the legislature or constitutional amendments approved by voters.
Other Southeast Missouri residents serving on the 20-member commission are Missouri Farm Bureau president Charlie Kruse of Dexter and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and Rust Communications chairman Gary Rust of Cape Girardeau. Rust Communications owns the Southeast Missourian.