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Size does matter when talking about departments

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By Merilee Dannemann

The New Mexico Economic Development Department employs fewer than 100 people and has a pretty simple business model: promote economic development.
The New Mexico Health Department employs more than 3,000 people. It operates eight residential medical facilities, including hospitals and nursing homes, has about 45 field offices and runs an alphabet soup of programs dealing with public health, nutrition, prevention of diseases, mitigation of bad behavior such as addiction and more. The Tourism Department has fewer than 100 employees to market New Mexico as a tourism destination, coordinating what might otherwise be less effective marketing by separate communities and businesses.
The Children, Youth and Families Department employs close to 2,000 people. It is the corrections agency for underage offenders and at-risk youth, operates several residential facilities including, according to comments from those who have been inside, scary places that house extremely scary teenagers.  Among its other programs are a few that look suspiciously similar to programs of the health department or the Human Services Department.    
You want to save money in state government? Don’t consolidate the small agencies. Break up the big ones.


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