S.B. 181 Consolidates Existing Agencies to Create Department of Government Operations

Senator Milner (R-18) presented S.B. 181, Department of Government Operations, to the Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Standing Committee on February 16, 2021. S.B. 181 proposes a consolidation of three different state government departments. The bill combines the Department of Administrative Services, the Department of Technology Services, and the Department of Human Resource Management into one new department, the Department of Government Operations, with a total of approximately 1,300 employees. The consolidation aims at increasing effectiveness and efficiency in the work of agencies serving other government departments. Milner explained to the committee, “we are not requesting additional FTE’s. On the other side, it does not mean any reduction in force. All employees that are there will continue to be there.” Milner further clarified, “If someone voluntarily leaves, there might be a position that doesn’t need to be filled.” Any changes to positions “will not be done through a reduction in force. It would just be done through the normal course of voluntary resignations.”

UPEA Executive Director, Todd Losser, testified in front of the committee with the following statement: “UPEA has met with Governor Cox, and it’s our understanding that agency consolidation will not result in any reduction of jobs. Utah’s public employees are considered the most efficient workforce in the country. UPEA expects to work with the governor’s office and state agencies to ensure a smooth transition for public employees and to continue the gold standard we have established.”

S.B. 181 passed the committee unanimously with a favorable recommendation. The Senate then heard it on the floor on Day 31 of the 2021 Legislative Session. Senator Milner identified that the new governor is working on making state government more effective and efficient to serve Utah citizens. The proposal to merge the three government agencies into one also “aligns services to effectively and efficiently serve state employees.”

Senator Mayne told the Senate floor she supports the bill because the sponsor “assured [her] everyone will have a job and be treated fairly” through the consolidation process. S.B. 181 passed and will be placed on the calendar to be read a third time.