In February 2014, it was reported that Governor Pat McCrory’s North Carolina Government Efficiency and Reform initiative will begin in earnest this year. McCrory is not the first Governor to undertake a formal and thorough review of management and spending in government agencies. Within the first two weeks of taking office in 1973, Governor James Holshouser passed Executive Order 1 creating the Government Efficiency Study Commission. The 26 cubic feet of records pertaining to the Commission, its research, and results are processed and available at the State Archives of North Carolina.
Governor Holshouser’s Executive Order empowered the representatives of the Commission to investigate and analyze the different facets of state government as they deemed fit. It also directed every office and employee within the Governor’s authority to provide all information and assistance necessary for the Commission to make its determinations. According to Governor Holshouser, this effort would complement the reorganization plan of the early 1970s that revised, in stages, the basic structure of state government and its programs. The study examined the activities of almost the entire executive branch of state government, including the offices of the governor, lieutenant governor, the nine executive departments whose secretaries answer to the governor and the university system.
Members of the Executive Committee directly oversaw study teams to evaluate seven specific government functions: General Government, Regulatory and Protective, Social and Human Resources, Transportation, Agricultural and Natural Resources, Public Instruction, and Higher Education. Team members conducted studies through interviews, reports from internal and external sources, compilation and accumulation of research data, and personal observations. They then formulated recommendations which were submitted to the Executive Committee and the Governor in a series of Final Reports. These recommendations, which encompassed everything from the major restructuring of state agencies to the money and time spent typing specific forms, were either implemented, found unacceptable, or marked for further study.
The Commission disbanded at the end of 1973. Initially, the work was continued by the by Office of Administrative Management Analysis, which was later replaced by the Office of Administrative Analysis. Before the end of 1973, the Governor’s Efficiency Study Commission had submitted almost seven hundred recommendations.The Holshouser Administration instituted almost six hundred of the recommendations. Some observations have been referenced in later years as future governors and state officials addressed issues of efficiency and government change. Occasionally, recommendations originally marked for more study or considered unacceptable in 1973 were implemented during future terms.
The working files of the teams, their summaries and final reports , as well as the administrative files of the commission speak to past efforts for government reform as well as the restructuring of government and regulations over time. The finding aid for this collection (MARS 397 and 397.1) is available online.