Wyoming should save money through government efficiency, but state employees deserve a long-awaited raise, newly inaugurated Gov. Mark Gordon said Thursday in his first news conference in the job.
Wyoming can improve government efficiency by consolidating and merging certain agency functions, such as programs that involve businesses relocating to the state, Gordon said.
"This is an opportunity now to kind of rethink the way we do government," said Gordon, a Republican who was inaugurated Monday.
He plans to encourage agency heads to continue looking for ways to reduce costs, he said.
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At the same time, Gordon supports a supplemental budget proposal by his predecessor, Republican Matt Mead, to give state employees their first raise since 2015.
Recruiting and retaining certain state employees from judges to snowplow drivers has become difficult, Gordon said.
"We need to compensate our employees, particularly when they do an excellent job," Gordon said. "You can solve government efficiency on more than one variable and trying to solve it only on salary is self-defeating."
Gordon announced four new agency directors including Mike Ceballos to direct the Wyoming Department of Health. Ceballos was the Democratic nominee for state superintendent for public instruction in 2014 and formerly was Wyoming director of Qwest Communications.
Ceballos will replace Tom Forslund, who plans to step down in a couple of months.
Gordon has named Lynn Budd to direct the Wyoming Department of Homeland Security. Budd has been head of the department's security division and replaces Guy Cameron, who is retiring.
Gordon will retain Todd Parfitt as director of the Department of Environmental Quality and Doug Miyamoto as director of the Agriculture Department.