Bill proposes automation to streamline and ‘right-size’ GovGuam

Vice Speaker Tina Muna Barnes (PNC file photo)

Speaker Tina Muña Barnes and Sen. Jose “Pedo” Terlaje have introduced what the Speaker’s office describes as “historic” legislation to streamline government processes using technology.

In a news release, the Speaker’s office stated that the Government of Guam has a compelling need to explore technologies that can automate what are currently manual human computer processes.

“With the plethora of various systems in place in the government of Guam, a sizable portion of work hours are used to input information from one system to another. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the technology that allows computer software, or ‘robot’, to emulate and integrate the actions of a human interacting with digital systems to execute administrative procedures. In recent years, the Guam Power Authority has integrated the RPA technology to save thousands of equivalent human work hours,” the Speaker said in a news release.

According to the Speaker, the technology as prescribed in Bill 385-35 will improve government efficiency, eliminate human error in transferring data from one system to another and advance engagement with the public. RPA has been used by governments in the region including Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan to greatly reduce the need for human labor to do repetitive computer tasks.

The Speaker pointed out that the greatest need for such a pilot program is at the Department of Revenue and Taxation, where a process automation program can help with department of motor vehicles, tax refunds, collections and other processes that are vital to taxpayers.

“Automatic process automation is the necessary step GovGuam needs to improve government efficiency. I ask my Democrat and Republican colleagues that we work together to recognize necessary budget projection reductions and use technology to make processes more efficient and eliminate the need for even more personnel. This is the direction we need to be going in,” the Speaker said.

Senator Jose “Pedo” Terlaje, co-sponsor of Bill 385-35, said as the legislature comes up to budget session, the imperative to find more long term cost efficiencies in government is greater than ever before.

“GovGuam needs to be more productive and efficient while spending less on operations costs. Governments and businesses all over the world are using process automation to make this happen and we need to do the same,” Terlaje said.

He added: “A more technologically capable government is the path to a more streamlined and efficient GovGuam.”