First, let’s take a look back.
Over the last nearly seven years, I’ve been blessed to work with a dedicated and intelligent group of people at the Washington State Attorney General’s Office.
Under Attorney General Rob McKenna’s leadership, we’ve accomplished so many things!
- We conducted a multi-city tour focused on increasing access to government information and improving transparency in government– then developed model rules to guide the public and government on dealing with public records.
- We’ve passed comprehensive –and bipartisan–legislation to address the state’s methamphetamine problem, to improve our state’s ability to protect against sex offenders, to expand the state’s consumer protection laws and to protect the state’s most vulnerable adults. And those are just some of the highlights!
- We’ve traveled across the state as part of our award-winning Guard IT! Washington program to educate businesses and individuals about how to protect personal information and prevent identity theft–which resulted in Washington moving out of the top 10 states for identity theft reports.
- We’ve provided grant funding to expand the Washington Prevention Summit to reach more youth and we’ve partnered with the Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery to fund and develop a Spring Youth Forum for students to share their prevention strategies and win recognition.
- We’ve launched the Pillars of Hope, a multi-state initiative, to raise awareness about human trafficking and to help victims to freedom.
This office has won multiple cases before the Unites States Supreme Court, including three argued by AG McKenna himself defending voter-approved initiatives.
We’re leaders among Attorney General’s Offices across America, always willing to share information and serve as trainers for new AGs and their staff. It’s no wonder AG McKenna was selected to lead the National Association of Attorneys General for 2011-12.
Inside the office, we have held regular “Speak-Up” meetings with staff across the state to improve office procedures and to save money. In fact, since 2007, we have reduced our budget by more than $20 million and we now pay 200 fewer employees than we did at peak employment levels. We’ve done all this without widespread layoffs and while taking on new duties.
The office has also been a leader in establishing a performance management program, requiring regular, rigorous reviews and rewarding staff with performance plus and excellence awards for their good work.
These internal programs play an important role in explaining why the Attorney General’s Office has consistently scored highest among larger state agencies in employee satisfaction.
Now, we’re all facing the uncertainty of the 2012 election. With Attorney General McKenna running for Governor, we know for sure he will not be leading the Attorney General’s Office in 2013 so we’re all preparing to assist the new Attorney General with a smooth transition, regardless of which staff continue to work in the AG’s office. Across state government, employees are also preparing for a change in leadership in the Governor’s Office as well.
While change can certainly be unnerving, change also brings new opportunities to improve and grow.
With that in mind, I resolve to:
1) Strategize: Take more time to step back, observe and plan.
2) Personalize: Spend more time speaking to people face-to-face and on the phone rather than just jotting off an e-mail.
3) Maximize: Work even more collaboratively, share responsibilities and mentor others.
4) Recognize: Look for more opportunities to spotlight people’s hard work–and encourage others to do the same.
5) Realize: It’s important to take time to celebrate successes instead of constantly focusing on the next task or initiative.
Here’s to a great 2012!