Our View: Making government efficient

Friday , February 28, 2014 - 12:34 PM

Editorial Board, Standard-Examiner

Government gets a bad rap. Deficits, long lines, slow service, a polarized Congress, all of those are legitimate beefs. However, government is also the entity that provides essential services, such as streets, law enforcement, fire departments, and so on.

Government also assists the most vulnerable among us. When that local level of government fails, people are deprived of needs, and they hurt from that failure of efficiency. In our pages recently, we related the case of Ogden resident David Montoya, 55, who lost assistance to pay his light bill for a year because no government employee bothered to tell him that there was a deadline to apply.

For Montoya, who suffers from a mental disability, receiving information to get help is crucial. We can’t let humans in need slip through the cracks due to lack of information. That’s not efficient government.

We can debate — on and on — how big government can improve, but in terms of taking action to better government, our best successes can be found at the local level. We’re pleased that many nonprofit service organizations throughout the Top of Utah are committed to making sure government runs efficiently. United Way of Northern Utah has selected Cottages of Hope, an Ogden nonprofit, as the main player in a change in how Ogden-area nonprofits work together. As it works, Cottages of Hope will be a Financial Empowerment Center. Individuals who need assistance will go through only Cottages of Hope, and not have to deal with a multitude of agencies and case workers.

Many of Utah professionals are in San Francisco learning about methods to bundle service agencies and reduce the number of case workers. Besides helping individuals by reducing red tape, the goal is to make sure that recipients improve their financial self-sufficiency skills.

This is an admirable step from local nonprofits. If they can erase the frustrations of public service and create time to teach those in need strong living skills, it will be an example of efficient, helpful government.

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