Providing a nonpartisan model for generating and sharing          

    essential information on public issues and proposed solutions              

Shining a light on Minnesota public policy since 2005

                                                                                                  About Civic Caucus   l   Interviews & Responses  l   Position Reports   l   Contact Us   l   Home  

 Response Page - Kolderie  Interview -      

These comments are responses to the questions listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
Ted Kolderie Interview of

The Questions:

Kolderie identifies eight categories (approaches) for redesign of services.  On a scale of (0) least promising to (5) neutral, to (10) most promising, what is your view on the potential of each category?  

1.  _7.2 average response____ Termination, cutting out a service.   Your suggestions for redesign opportunities in this category:   _____________________________________________________________         

2.  _7.9 average response____ Prevention, avoiding or delaying the onset of high-cost services.  Your suggestions for redesign opportunities in this category: _________________________________________

3.  _7.1 average response____ Substitution, changing the way things are done, such as supported self-help.  Your suggestions for redesign opportunities in this category:_______________________________

4.  _7.7 average response____ Competition, opening a service to more than one supplier.  Your suggestions for redesign opportunities in this category:____________________________________________

5.  _6.9 average response____Utilization, getting more or better service from existing personnel, equipment, or infrastructure.  Your suggestions for redesign opportunities in this category:____________

6.  _5.8 average response____Capitation, giving an individual, organization, or agency the money and let it keep what it does not need to spend.   Your suggestions for redesign opportunities in this category: _____________________________________________________________________

7.  _6.1 average response____Regulation, requiring individuals and businesses to provide services at their own expense.  Your suggestions for redesign opportunities in this category:__________________

8.  _6.9 average response ____De-regulation, opening up a system, creating incentives to do things differently, meeting needs more effectively.  Your suggestions for redesign opportunities in this category:______________________________________________________________________

9.  Do any other categories occur to you? See responses below

Mark Ritchie

Wow, great interview.

Joe Mansky

Question 1:  Termination: Stop spending public funds on “economic development.” Let businesses locate wherever they want. (For example, I have never understood why firms moving to South Dakota, a poor state, is viewed as a bad thing for us. Don’t we benefit by having more people in our neighboring states with money to spend?)    

Question 2:  Prevention: To promote good health, provide an opportunity for individuals to have their baseline health indicators (such as weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, % body fat, aerobic capacity, etc) measured each year. Those who meet or exceed their goals would receive a cash award.

Question 3:  Substitution: My example is voter registration. Currently, you become registered to vote by filling out a paper form and giving it to a public agency whose employees then enter the data you provided into a statewide database. Why not just let people go online and register themselves? The time and expense currently spent having public employees doing data entry could then be reallocated to more productive, higher level activities.

Question 4 and 8:  Competition and De-regulation: Deregulate the “transit” (broadly defined) business and enable more people to provide taxi, livery and jitney services to those who need or want them.

Question 5:  Utilization: Operate the public schools all year. Leaving educational achievement aside, why leave all of the capital investments in education lie fallow for one-fourth of each year?

Question 6: Capitation:  I have a corollary proposal: let the individuals whose ideas or actions create savings for the public benefit financially from their ideas or actions. For example, if I figure out a more cost effective way to register voters, the county general fund would receive one-third of the savings and the department I work for would receive one-third of the savings. I would pocket the other third.

Peter Hennessey

Maybe you ("you" as an impersonal third person singular pronoun) need a scientist to tell you that before you set out to solve a problem, you have to define it first. Even if you don't have training in science, surely you must have heard of Socrates. So, what are the premises, terms and definitions used in the discussion? In this case, what are the government programs that are proposed for reform?  Of the existing programs, which ones are a proper function of government and which are an illegitimate usurpation of power? Which ones have been done in the private sector before government took them over, and why did it? A good place to start would be with the Enumerated Powers, but neither the letter nor the spirit of the Constitution applies any longer to anything the government does, at any level. So at the very least we should start with an enumeration of all existing government programs and functions.

Bert Press (10) (10) (10 ) (10) (5) (0) (10) (5)

Shari Prest (5) (9) (7) (1) (_) (6) (3) (2)

Question 1:  Termination:     1)Cut out mandated but cumbersome programs, especially those that are not reviewed or enforceable anyway. They drain the spirits, time, and resources, for example: following a school bus tragedy, a new bus safety program was required. The booklets were provided by the state and the school districts were charged. A lot of money could have been saved if school districts were simply told to implement and be prepared to provide evidence of a bus safety program. Legislate less and enforce better. 2)Cut Q comp 3)Do a state prioritization of public services, cut those that are "habit" rather than need or want. 4) Develop more co-locations of services. They are more accessible, more efficient, and require fewer facilities. 5)Provide access to earlier, less costly medical care. Create alternatives to the emergency room for those w/o insurance. 6)Be smarter about construction projects.

Question 2:  Prevention: Invest more $ earlier in education, k-14 education, social services, family support services, parent training, Invest Q-comp money in early-childhood, K-3 reading, and after school activities. See Community Action Council's "Partners for Success Program" and Dakota County's identification of births for children at risk followed up by home visitation "Healthy families". These programs and demonstrate greater outcomes and significant savings of public dollars.

Question 3:  Substitution:  There are models out there that are far more effective than what the counties/state does.  See Community Action Council's "Partners for Success Program" and Dakota County's identification of births for children at risk followed up by home visitation "Healthy Families" 

Question 4:  Competition:  This diverts support from best practices and what remains the greatest system of public education system in  the world and almost always slopes the playing field away from public services w/out giving them equal ability to promote, advertise, change practices, etc. 

Question 5:  Utilization: Getting rid of the cumbersome and redundant paperwork. It rarely gets monitored anyway. 

Question 6:  Capitation:  This could lead to poorer quality services in the interest of organizational growth, etc. organizations to keep the money if they promote targeted outcomes. 

Question 7:  Regulation:  In the private sector this is already done. In the public sector increased funding would be required to provide increased services. In the event of adequate funding this might work to reduce costs. A current exception, currently private school students receive public $ for some services. 

Question 8:  De-regulation:  This assumes de-regulation leads to the objectives like meeting needs more effectively. That has not been our nation's history. At the same time cumbersome, paperwork could allow for greater use of time and efficiency.  Ted Kolderie has long been an advocate of the privatization of public services. This may work in some cases but historically the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Question 9:  Higher expectations, fewer petty  "punishments" and "rewards", higher respect for public employees, adequate compensation for expertise, building an intrinsisc culture from the top down, and the provide more opportunities for individual creativity. 

Robert J. Brown (7) (10) (5) (10) (5) (10) (3) (10)

Question 1:  Termination: This speaks to the need for annual reviews of governmental agencies and functions asking the questions “why are we providing this service or activity” and “is the need still there.” I recall from my legislative days when we were still funding some “horse and buggy” boards which were no longer needed.      

Question 2:  Prevention: Health care obviously, but also education when funding needs to spent on starting students off right, rather than trying to repair them once they get off track. Ed Deming’s approach to letting anyone on the assembly line stop he process and correcting it as soon as a problem is seen instead of waiting to turn out finished projects and then discarding the ones that don’t work.

Question 4:  Competition:  Voucher systems which empower the consumer to choose based on informed choice and a level playing field.

Question 5: Utilization:  Almost every politician says they will do this, but they are rarely successful unless there is a modification of work rules, union authority, etc.

Question 6: Capitation: Sending school aid directly to the building based on the number of students.

Question 7: Regulation: I am nervous about these mandates because they are not always administered in a fair manner.

Question 8: De-regulation: We need to teach entrepreneurial skills to those in government and those policy wonks who impact government.

Charles Lutz (5) (7) (7) (7) (6) (8) (8) (6)

Donald H. Anderson (8) (5) (8) (8) (8) (0) (2) (10)

Austin Chapman (2) (3) (4) (7) (5) (8) (4) (6)

Jim Keller (6) (7) (8) (8) (8) (_) (8) (_)

Question 1:  Termination: Maintaining trees and shrubs along the street right of ways - leave it to the property owner, as in small towns.        

Question 2:  Prevention: Restrict the use of absentee ballots to actual need, rather than convenience - we had as long of lines at the city building before the election as we did at the polls on election day. We are making the process more and more costly.

Question 3:  Substitution:  I believe we can use contract labor in lieu of employees in many public maintenance areas.

Question 4:  Competition: Rather than multiple companies running up and down the streets, I believe bidding by area, could increase efficiency.

Question 5: Utilization:  We should work toward city and school administration sharing existing structure and equipment.

Question 7: Regulation: See response to Question 1.

Question 9: Go to primaries and get rid of the caucus system.

Ray Ayotte (7) (10) (_) (10) (_) (10) (_) (_)

Question 2:  Develop financial incentives in health insurance similar to what exists in auto insurance to encourage healthier lifestyle choices and personal responsibility.

Paul Hauge (8)(7) (8) (6) (9) (5) (8) (9)

Question 5: Utilization: Equipment and structures that are only partially used can often be multi-purposed

Question 6:  Capitation: More difficult to implement.

Question 9: Ted has  unlimited perception and should be an advisor to the Minn legislature but politics interferes- thanks to all of the Civic Caucus members for their continued work and interest in the critical issues of our age.

Wayne Jennings (10) (10) (10) (8) (10) (10) (_) (10)

Question 1:  Termination: Trash removal by neighborhood vs. each house. St. Paul has every household contract for trash removal and thus 10 different trucks rumble down every street or alley every week instead of one company.       

Question 2:  Prevention: Provide incentives for healthier living by reduced health care costs. Or increase costs for unhealthy life styles.

Question 3:  Substitution: Integrated social services. Provide one stop community services in convenient locations like schools. Big savings and better services by sharing staff, space and expenses.

Question 5: Utilization: Older students tutor younger students. Students provide community service, often gathering data the city or county can’t afford to do itself. In fact, the entire school enterprise needs redesign with students involved in food service, maintenance, administration, discipline, etc.

Question 6: Capitation: Give school the budget items for substitute teachers, heating bills, etc. and keep what they save.

Question 8: De-regulation: Decentralize school district authority over schools with site based management to a larger degree than at present.

Ray Cox (10) (10) (7) (10) (10) (2) (10) (7)

Question 1:  Termination: Do away with racial employment percentages in state construction contracts and instead focus on seeing that various groups of individuals are properly trained for employment; provide surety bond assistance to see that various businesses have access to credit and bonds to bid projects.  

Question 2:  Prevention: I like the example of removing biting dogs and rats rather than simply treating the bites.

Question 3:  Substitution: Keeping people in their homes as they near end of life; eliminating food credit cards and delivering food for the needy through local food shelves where the individuals can also obtain other needed services or learn where to obtain those services.

Question 4:  Competition: The clue here is getting the vendors to the table, and not keeping them shut out. Don't 'cook the bid' to award a preferred client....get the client to stand on their feet and get the job in an open market. The private markets don't create bid preference so the public markets shouldn't either.

Question 7: Regulation: Cities and counties have huge expenses related to enforcement of building codes....with absolutely no direction to do so by the state. They took this on themselves. Builders are bound to meet codes just as restaurants are required to clean. Eliminate all this inspection and go to spot inspections.

Shirley Heaton (5) (5) (5) (5) (5) (5) (5) (5)

You are commended for sponsoring such a fantastic session. I have been involved in several attempts to redesign public services in Baltimore and Detroit only to experience the status quo holding forth; e.g. would you believe the 1967 Detroit riots might not have occurred if the powers that be had had the guts to follow thru on a proposal to change the physical and economic status of the very community which went up in flames 10 years later? But there's hope these days with the economy like it is. Folks are ready for change; hence the opportunity to take note of K's observation that change evolves by opening 'the system just enuf to let something very different come in."

Terry Stone (10) (10) (6) (10) (5) (5) (_) (6)

Great interview; there is a lot to think about.   This interview is a remarkable template for thinking through the elements of redesign.  As usual, not all of my ideas share equal sobriety. 

Question 1: Termination: While the idea has limited application, it's such a clean and uncluttered solution, it gets high marks.

An example of termination at the state level would be the elimination of all Office of the State Auditor (OSA) unfunded mandates. These are mandates that require the (OSA) to audit entities and bill those entities for services) for the (OSA) to audit counties and cities.

This can be privatized, saving governmental entities considerable money and providing more timely audits. Current staffing problems in the OSA Oversight do not permit all entities to be audited within the accepted deadline of 6 months. Audits from the OSA last year took as long as 16 months; malpractice in the accounting world. Privatizing governmental audits would still need governmental oversight. That role would be to monitor and spot check the list of qualified auditors who are auditing the municipal and county entities. The OSA would be downsized, the work product improved and a savings for cities and counties would result.

In addition, the position of State Auditor needs to stop being used by both parties as a stepping-stone to higher office. A requirement that the State Auditor be a CPA is a fundamental change and a badly needed minimum requirement for the office.  Including territorial auditors, there has never been a CPA as State Auditor.          

Question 2: Prevention: Economic development strikes me as a high-cost service that could easily be avoided through the maintenance of a business-friendly tax and regulatory climate.  Once business leaves, it's extraordinarily hard to get it back.  Once the Golden Goose has been killed, it's hard to coax another back into the social planning, high tax and spend, environment first, illegal alien friendly, LRT- crazed special interest-dominated trap.

Question 3:  Substitution: LGA should lend itself to substitution techniques. Running local money through the Legislature and back is a formula for inefficiency, influence by special interests and resource shrinkage.

Question 4:  Competition:  The privatization of the State Printing Office is a standing example of reduced cost, better service, and enhanced quality through privatization. The privatization of many auditing functions the OSA provides competition among CPA firms saving cities and counties significant amounts on auditing expenses while assuring timely audits.

A great deal of the water quality testing and mitigation would benefit from the efficiency of competitive bids. State agencies and state academic institutions currently dominate this arena with questionable political neutrality.  The required TMDL studies under the MN Clean water Legacy Act will arguably cost $51,000,000 and would benefit greatly from private sector competition by both politically isolating the process and by saving tax dollars.

Only Constitutional mandates for Minnesota Government should not be reviewed for exposure to private market competition.

Question 5: Utilization: A unicameral legislature works for Nebraska and an every-other-year legislature works for North Dakota. An every-other-year meeting of a unicameral legislature would get the most use out of existing politicians, equipment and infrastructure.  

Question 6: Capitation: For a governmental function to benefit from capitation, a well-defined objective with a well-defined value must be available.  The State Park system is just such an entity. 

Each state park has a well-defined cost of operation. There is no need for government employees to be monitoring campers, selling park permits, re-filling the granola dispenser and distributing literature to park visitors.  Government employees are required to neither manage fauna nor foster plant growth.

A private entity can accomplish the task of park management for less with the incentive that, if they can do it under the contract price, the balance is theirs to keep. It’s quintessential capitalism. 

Question 7: Regulation:  Government currently pays the enormous cost of keeping transplant patients alive while they are on waiting lists. A three-year for a kidney is not unusual while dialysis costs are in the neighborhood of $50,000 per month.

There are no good reasons for the shortage of transplant organs.  The problem could be solved by regulation. Instead of making organ donation a conscious choice to be made on the driver’s license application, the default position would be donor.

Following the ideas of implied consent, the driver accepts the responsibility of driving a motor vehicle on public roadways knowing that he can kill fellow citizens through impairment, negligence or mechanical failure of his vehicle. To accept that responsibility the consent to harvest organs is implied in the application process. 

Question 8: De-regulation: Subcontract judicial services across the lower courts system. Subcontract traffic court, DWI court, drug court and all small claims courts.  

Question 9:  The antipode of the entitlement society is a culture in which recipients of free government services recognize an obligation to return the gift. Those individuals who are given aid because of a lack of an opportunity to work in the private sector are given opportunities to work in the government sector on the endless liberal projects perennially lacking funding.

Government is able to move projects forward cost effectively. Social Responsibility investment will not upset the free market equilibrium so cherished by labor unions; these projects would not otherwise be funded.

Bill Hamm

Let me start by saying that I am not fond of this psychological ploy to get us to buy into the "Re-Design" concept through participation. First, the idea of "Incremental change" as described in section 9 is blatantly Socialist in concept. Furthermore it is exactly how "The Minnesota Miracle" undermined the locally controlled, competitive, more functional education system we had. I will endeavor to find answers that fit our Republic model not the Socialist model being promoted by this discussion. I am not willing to trust anyone enough to let them lead me down a path toward his or her goal or objective. I want to know what's at the other end of this "re-design" model and hear the full discussion as to just why we need it and why these changes don't threaten our Republic. While I am fine with the 8 categories, I am not fine applying theoretical means, (or at least measures of under defined means), to cure problems that have not clearly been established to have been mishandled apparently just for the sake of doing it differently. While I understand what he is about, I can't understand how anyone can support the under discussed application of this technique without full transparency and disclosure. Personally having someone of greater education, or from groups superior to me in social status, making these kinds of decisions behind my back is not comforting. To make this clearer, if your talking about change let's get on with it. If you have to rename it "re-design" I have already figured out there is deception involved.


The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Core participants include persons of varying political persuasions, reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

   Verne C. Johnson, chair;  David Broden, Charles Clay, Marianne Curry, Bill Frenzel, Paul Gilje,  Jim Hetland,  Marina Lyon, Joe Mansky, John Mooty,  Jim Olson,  and Wayne Popham 

The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
8301 Creekside Circle #920,   Bloomington, MN 55437.
Verne C. Johnson, chair, 952-835-4549,       Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.

contact webmaster



Hit Counter