Gov. Eric Greitens gives a brief statement moments before signing Sen. Dan Brown's right-to-work bill into law Feb 6, 2017. (Travis Zimpfer/THE MISSOURI TIMES)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – “We have to remember that this is the people’s money, and they are counting on us to be careful with it,” Governor Eric Greitens wrote in his email announcing a new parental paid leave policy on Monday.

Greitens called for higher performance from state employees in the email, as well as expressing to the employees under the executive branch the importance of taking time with their families.

The new policy, signed into effect by an executive order, provides six weeks of paid leave for state employees under the executive branch who serve as primary caregivers while giving three weeks to secondary caregivers in the event of a birth or adoption.

But while Greitens’ message spoke of providing some stability to parents in the early developmental days of the child’s life, he also spoke of the expectations for Missouri’s state workers.

“I have high hopes for what we are going to do together. I also have high expectations. Those who serve the public must act with courage, integrity, thrift and discipline. We must do everything in our power to make sure Missourians have more jobs, higher pay, safer streets, and better schools. All of us – each and every one of us – have a role to play in achieving those goals,” he wrote.

The governor also mentions the tight budget, saying that it’s up to them to be good stewards of Missouri taxpayers’ money, also referencing the importance of doing more with less.

“We must hold ourselves accountable and use every single dollar well. It’s easy to think that tight budgets mean limiting what we can do, but I’ve often found that constraints can encourage creativity and flexibility. When we have to do more with less, we can find new answers and fresh approaches.”

Greitens finished by writing about his intent to move Missouri’s state workers toward a culture of rewarding good performance. He also noted that means addressing some of the ways things are done, while also holding those who do not meet the performance expectations accountable.

“We will do this together, as a team. I’ve seen how hard so many of you are working to get results for the people of Missouri, and I will always have your back. As you’ve heard me say before, we are moving toward a culture of rewarding performance. I want to ensure that our employees who do good work get good pay, and I will be working closely with my team to make sure that happens. Part of building that culture is holding poor performers accountable. I’ve seen and heard from many of you that some bad processes and personnel are dragging the whole system down. We’re going to fix that so that we can get great results for the people of Missouri.”

Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.