February 13, 2012; Source: New Haven Register | NPQ has been following the story of former state Rep. Deb Heinrich of Madison, Conn., who resigned her elected position a year ago to take on the task of heading a cabinet-level office aimed at improving the relationship between the state and its nonprofit partners. It is, according to Heinrich, the only such position in the country and she has approached it with a lot of energy and a laser-like focus on the priorities. The crown jewel of her year may be the establishment of the Contracting Efficiency Office in the Office of Policy and Management. “It is a project that will go on for the next year that we set up to fully automate and standardize contract and processing procedures between the state and nonprofits,” Heinrich explains. “The state is bad about executing contracts on time and making on-time payments, and if we can standardize and automate that, we can fix those problems.”

The former representative also brought executive directors of nonprofit organizations and commissioners from the Health and Human Services Department together so that there is a forum for raising and tackling issues in a timely and cooperative manner, and she has also been working with state agencies to create a more comprehensive data system so that information is in better shape to help inform policy decisions.

We have to admit to being impressed with all that Heinrich has been able to accomplish with Gov. Dannel Malloy’s backing and we cross our fingers that whoever succeeds her in the position is as effective. Kudos to Connecticut Governor Malloy for creating this position. It’s an extraordinary step. –Ruth McCambridge