Lawmaker questions staffing and work of Governor’s Delivery Unit

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By Erich Wagner

A little-known part of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s office is facing legislative scrutiny, as a Republican lawmaker on Wednesday criticized the Governor’s Delivery Unit’s use of staff detailed from other agencies.

Del. Gail Bates, R-Howard, asked O’Malley Chief of Staff Matthew Gallagher about the obscure unit created last year and tasked with working on the administration’s long-term goals.

“Are there additional people hired to do this?” Bates said. “Are there people whose primary purpose is to work on this?”

“They’re funded through other agencies,” Gallagher replied.

Bates called the funding mechanism “clever,” since Gallagher said that overall the governor’s office was operating with a smaller number of people and at a lower cost to the state.

The Governor’s Delivery Unit is charged with getting state agencies to work together on common objectives for the state. On the state’s StateStat Web site, the agency lists 15 goals it is working to achieve. These include reducing violent crime statewide by 10 percent a year, creating or saving 250,000 “growth sector” jobs by the end of 2012, and doubling mass transit ridership by 2020. Most of the goals are set to be achieved beyond O’Malley’s first term and half are targeted in years after his potential second four-year term.

There are five members of the Governor’s Delivery Unit listed in the state’s phone directory. Of them, at least two are from the Office of Smart Growth in the state Department of Planning, including the unit’s director, David Costello. One member is from the Department of Natural Resources, and one is attached solely to the governor’s agency.

Gallagher said the agency is modeled after former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Delivery Unit.

“These outcome-based goals are very complex,” Gallagher said. “The GDU is an organizational model intended to convene agencies to determine how to reach these outcomes.”

Gallagher suggested that Bates come to a StateStat briefing to learn more about the agency’s activities.

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