New state official claims he can save Oklahomans $1B

OKLAHOMA CITY - Governor Kevin Stitt has said many times he wants to make Oklahoma a Top Ten state. In order to make that happen, he says we have to be more efficient. One of his new cabinet members promises to do that and says he can save the state $1 billion along the way.

"We are very behind. We are dead last in a lot of categories," said David Ostrowe.

That's why Ostrowe says Governor Stitt brought him in to be the first-ever Secretary of Digital Transformation and Administration.

"Everything we do is an analogue process. It takes multiple stops, so a citizen needing services from the state, any service, typically takes hours, multiple locations, multiple stops. We want to streamline all that," said Ostrowe.

Ostrowe says his staff is now looking at the 50 state agencies under their umbrella and mapping out how they work to see what can be fixed. He already sees some big problems.

"God forbid folks that have to go through getting death certificates when they are distraught - apparently that takes several days," Ostrowe told News 4. "Slow processes, analogue processes and frankly expense. I mean, we could save millions in paper."

Not just millions - the former Burger King executive is used to focusing on efficiency in the fast food business. He says a digital overhaul could save the state a lot more.

"We think the billion dollars is the low bar. We are not talking cuts, we are just talking efficiencies and redirecting human capital," he said.

So, how will the savings begin? Ostrowe says it starts with a digital driver's license.

"That’s our portal - to single sign in where citizens will be able to go ahead and access all government services from their phone," he said.

Ostrowe says SNAP cards, or anything that can put someone into the driver's license app will save the state money, and the citizens time and frustrations.

Oklahomans could start seeing these IDs in May. Also that month, look out for the online government checkbook.

"Every transaction that the government spends down to the penny, not only our budget, but our actual spending," said Ostrowe. "It’s a level of transparency that the state has never seen. It's exciting stuff coming out."

Ostrowe says the streamlining and savings will not lead to job cuts. Due to the state government hiring freeze from the last two administrations, he says a lot of the agencies are understaffed and that "they are going to focus on redirecting folks to the mission of the agencies."

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