I ran to become your State Treasurer and served in that office for a simple reason: finance matters.
The way we manage our collective resources impacts every Delaware family, business and non-profit. This core belief guided almost all my actions in my management of the Treasurer’s Office, service on more than a dozen government boards, councils and committees, and conduct as your highest elected financial officer.
As your State Treasurer, I implemented, advocated for and demonstrated how financial reforms are both possible and make us all better off. I worked across state government, and across political aisles, with a focus on improving the value of what we get for what we spend.
The key principles that I applied – transparency, accountability and certainty – are second nature to me based on a career spent as an investment manager and financial officer. These are the criteria that enable an organization — whether a small business, a global investment firm or a state government — to set goals, allocate resources and measure outcomes. That is what is at the heart of a good finance system.
In state government, we have good people and we have noble objectives. We operate, however, using systems for budgeting, personnel, and procurement that are outdated, riddled with red tape and full of poor incentives. That we manage to do as well as we do is a testament to the hard work of many and the tremendous sacrifice of a few.
Fundamental reform of these systems that govern everything, from the way we provide education, to how we procure healthcare, to the means we use to ensure public safety, can and will improve outcomes and allow us to do more with the resources that we already have. Yes, the challenges that we face as a people are significant, but the corresponding opportunities to achieve excellence with the resources we have are even greater.
If we are serious about creating a better Delaware for all of us, we need to operate with a new kind of financial rigor. We need systems that enable us to have a clarity of purpose about what we are trying to achieve, the means to demonstrate that adequate resources have been made available to meet objectives, and the processes in place to assess results.
As your State Treasurer, my mission was nothing short of a rebuild and reboot of our most fundamental systems to ensure the long-term prosperity of all Delawareans. Whether we can find and maintain the level of focus and political will that will allow state government to realize that vision is unclear, but it is the only way that I know to guarantee Delaware’s future success as an organization and as a people.
To those who have complained that the system is broken, I agree. Let’s fix it.
Serving as your State Treasurer convinced me that we need to refocus our State financing system around the concept of value. How we manage our finances today will determine our fortunes as a people tomorrow.Ken Simpler
Former State Treasurer of Delaware
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