One hundred days into his new job, Governor Kevin Stitt says he is making great strides: "I can confidently say that this administration has hit the ground running."
In a 10-page report, titled "First 100 Days in Office: Accomplishments," Governor Stitt outlines early successes that, he says, are evidence that "the needle is beginning to move...We are on the path to becoming a Top Ten state."
In a sit-down interview at News 9 Tuesday, Mr. Stitt expanded on some of these accomplishments.
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He says the most significant achievement of his first 100 days is getting the authority to hire and fire the heads of the state's largest agencies. He says, for obvious reasons, other governors also tried to get this authority.
"It'd be like hiring a football coach and not allowing them to hire their own offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, or special teams coach," Gov. Stitt explained. "You're not going to have a consensus, you're not going to have the same direction going, and luckily the Legislature agreed with me."
The report lists accomplishments under seven categories: accountability, budget. jobs and economic growth, digital transformation, culture, Governor's office, and 'other'. They include the request for an audit of the state's Medicaid rolls, the launch of an effort to put the state's checkbook online, and the development of digital driver's licenses that are Real ID compliant.
Governor Stitt says he is taking lessons he learned in the private sector and using them to transform state government.
"One of the things I did was put a Chief Operating Officer on my Cabinet," Stitt said, "that had never been done before."
He says a lot of what he's doing just makes practical sense: "We're doing some of those basic things by defining success, making every agency put metrics in place, talk about where they want to be in four years and in one year," Stitt said, "and I'm kind of cascading that through the organization, all the way down to all the employees in state government."
Governor Stitt says he remains optimistic that a $1,200 pay raise for teachers, which has been held up in the Senate, will still become law. He acknowledges that some feel the funds to pay for the raise would be better spent in the classroom, but is standing by his plan.
"You could argue where [the money] goes, but I just think we need to make sure teachers know that they're valued," Stitt stated, "that we're recruiting more teachers into our state."
You can see the full report here.