Cuomo report calls local governments antiquated and inefficient.

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s transition team produced during his campaign a detailed and well- annotated report outlining plans for “Rightsizing Government.” The report’s findings and recommendations reiterates much of what the previous columns in this series have suggested: that New York state’s Public Authorities and agencies “have become too big, too expensive, and too ineffective – an ever proliferating tangle of boards, commissions, councils, departments, divisions, offices, task forces and public authorities, the taxpaying public can no longer afford. Amen

The report also calls for “right-sizing” New York’s antiquated system of overlapping and inefficient local government services provided by 62 counties, 932 towns, 555 villages and more than 7,000 special districts. I have not covered this concern in my prior columns. I believe it is a valid consideration. I’d like to know if you agree.

To restructure and right-size this current tangle, Gov. Cuomo will recommend the establishment of a Spending and Government Efficiency Commission – the “SAGE Commission” – to conduct a comprehensive review of every aspect of State government. To ensure that its’ recommendations are implemented, the report also suggests the immediate passage of a “State Government Reorganization Act” that will give him the authority to eliminate, transfer and consolidate state agencies without further legislative approval.

A brief assessment! We hardly need another commission, doing another review of findings that are already a matter of record and of imminent concern.

The title of this report is also a bit disingenuous. Real reform is dependent on a rightsizing process that puts into play fundamentally sound business practices that are absolutely needed and not argumentative. Reading from a report titled “Lesson’s from America’s Public Sector Innovators” published by the Reason Foundation, many states are currently implementing key strategies that will encourage competition in the delivery of public services, require the use of Performance-Based Budgeting practices and, Activity-Based-Costing routines etc. none of which is addressed in this report.

In a recent New York Times Editorial: “Mr. Cuomo’s Job,” its board noted that eight books full of campaign promises have been published including, the report reviewed in this column. With a goal of restoring New York to its “days of glory” he will obviously need a reasonable amount of support from 62 senators and 151 members of the Assembly many of whom are still wearing “Streamline Albany’s Rambling Bureaucracy” campaign buttons. A budget is due by Feb. 1 for legislative approval by April 1.

Let the games begin.


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