DSPS Secretary Crim Records Successes and Accomplishments in 2019

MADISON, Wis. –  License fee reductions, case-review backlog reductions and full implementation of firefighter health and safety rules are among the key
accomplishments for 2019 for the Department of Safety and Professional Services.

After nearly a full year of leadership at the Department of Safety and Professional Services, Secretary-designee Dawn Crim counts the license fee reduction among
her early successes. Credential holders in 170 different occupations saw either a reduction or no increase in their initial or renewal license fees. Changes affected
a wide range of professions ranging from accounting and cosmetology to nursing, social work and tattooing. The reductions were the first in ten years.

“When we saw the results of the licensing study, which the agency conducts every other year, I made the decision to reduce those fees,” Secretary-designee Crim
says. “This affects around 361,000 Wisconsin license holders. And, according to the new fee structure, no initial license will cost more than $75. Most are set much
lower at $43.”

Crim also focused on the Division of Legal Services and Compliance, which was struggling with case backlogs when she arrived. Through some adjustments to
staffing and processes, the agency has improved efficiency, and the medical case backlog alone has been cut by 25%. Other efforts are planned or are already in
place to get the workload to a manageable level for the staff.

“We spent a lot of time determining the greatest needs and the best opportunity for improvement,” Crim says. “We made an impact in the Division of Legal Services
and Compliance, and we continue to look for efficiencies and to advocate for additional resources so that our employees can be successful and offer the very best
customer service.”

Full implementation of SPS 330, the firefighter health and safety code, also brought Wisconsin in closer alignment with national standards. Crim and her team
worked with fire departments throughout the state to ensure understanding of what was changing and what wasn’t.

“It was a great opportunity to interact with fire departments and communities,” Crim says. “Change can be challenging, but we all share a commitment to the health
and wellbeing of our fire fighters. We all want to make sure everyone comes home from every call. These rules will help.”

Sun Prairie Fire Chief Christopher Garrison says he appreciates the support that fire safety is getting from the agency under Secretary Crim’s leadership. “I’m happy
to see that we have someone who is committed to firefighter health and safety and who has the best interest of everyone involved,” Garrison says. “I think she has
the right kind of personality and the right kind of attitude to push fire safety in the right direction.”

The agency charted other successes across all five divisions, including the following:

•        Nearly $1 million in clean water grants awarded to 210 home and business owners;
•        Adoption of new policies enabling the agency to verify license application materials from issuing organization or government websites, saving time and
expediting license approvals;
•        Early distribution of $22,037,952 in fire dues to 813 public fire departments;
•        Improved and expanded new-employee orientation and onboarding process designed to improve retention;
•        Appointment of dozens of new board and council members, enabling more boards and councils to meet quorum and conduct necessary business that ensures
public safety;
•        Development of a commercial building plan review discussion group with industry representatives to identify and implement improvements;
•        Ongoing implementation of a multi-year and multi-phase technology conversion to integrate multiple systems and transition to more paperless operations; and
•        Exploration of expanded collaboration with delegated agents throughout the state.
Secretary-designee Dawn Crim also recently rolled out the 2020 strategic plan, which includes division goals and benchmarks so that progress can tracked and
measured.  

“When I accepted this appointment from Governor Evers, I was excited about the opportunity to work with him and for the people of Wisconsin,” Secretary Crim
says. “Our agency performs critical services that enable individuals to enter the workforce and earn family-sustaining wages. We also ensure the safety of public
spaces so that Wisconsin residents and guests can move freely and safely without worrying about their wellbeing. I knew there would be challenges in leading an
agency that covers such a broad range of issues and services. I also knew there would be successes, and there have been many. I am proud of what we have
accomplished so far, and I look forward to the work that lies ahead.”

The Department of Safety and Professional Services employs more than 250 people across five offices throughout the state. The agency provides a wide range of
services, from building and boiler inspections and plan reviews to professional credentialing and state fire prevention programming. The agency commissions
mixed martial arts fights and other unarmed combat sports, and it oversees the Education Approval Program, which regulates for-profit higher education institutions.
The department supports dozens of boards and councils that provide oversight for professions including dentistry, pharmacy, tattoo artistry and social work, and it
issues more than 240 professional credentials. It also operates the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, a key tool in the state’s effort to combat the opioid
epidemic by creating a centralized portal for reporting and tracking opioid, benzodiazepine and stimulant prescribing and dispensing.