Something else to gather dust

So there was Michael Heskett, tending to his duties at the Texas Library and Archives Commission when his bosses assigned him a new one. We want you, they said, to assemble a team of investigators and find out how many reports state agencies submit to the Legislature. In that way, perhaps, some reports could be consolidated or even eliminated, thus saving taxpayer dollars on staff time and paper. Heskett began his mission in the spring of 2006. And quickly was overwhelmed. More than 170 agencies, among them colleges and universities, are accountable to the public through its elected representatives. The team canvassed them and found they generated more than 1,600 reports. And guess what? Many of them duplicate each other. Take the "Funds Received and Disbursed" report, for instance. In it are the same data covered by the annual report that is required by the Uniform Statewide Accounting Act. You're surprised, right? Well, from Austin comes word that the Heskett team's findings – that there are too many reports – were released late last month. In the form of a report, of course. It's 668 pages long, but it does not estimate how much time and money could be saved by eliminating many of those reports. That determination is expected after further study ... in another report.

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