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Guest Column: State Sen. Tom O'Mara

“Hear about the efficiency probes?

ALBANY, May 9 -- Between the time of the Royal Wedding and the killing of Osama bin Laden, I suppose it’s no great surprise that a few news reports about waste in state government went largely unnoticed. After all, it was pretty difficult over the course of those few, dramatic, historic events to turn the page or change the channel to anything else.

But there they were on Friday, April 29th, on the pages of the New York Times and the New York Post. Stories about Cuomo administration investigators uncovering what was characterized by reporters as “massive waste” in New York government. Outrageous waste like state agencies paying as much as $9 per dozen for ballpoint pens. Unbelievable inefficiency with audits showing the state paying more than 1,700 vendors to provide basic office supplies, like paper and paper clips, throughout the bureaucracy. And other practices like paying millions of dollars to operate toll-free telephone numbers – even though half of them haven’t been dialed in months.

If you’re interested, I’ve provided links to both stories on my website, But I’m confident you can already see the picture developing.

“There is no end to the horror stories,” the governor’s director of state operations, Howard Glaser, told the Post. He’s leading the administration’s crackdown on waste and mismanagement across New York’s sprawling bureaucracy in the form of a series of audits, dubbed “efficiency
probes,” performed since the beginning of the year.

The Times story reported that state government operations “are plagued by waste and often bewildering inefficiency.” According to the Times, the initial audits are nearly complete and could yield more than $1 billion in savings over the next several years. The Post said the audits could produce $50 million in immediate savings.

The findings will soon be turned over to the newly created Spending and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Commission, first proposed by the governor and included as part of this year’s state budget, which will continue leading the first major overhaul of the state bureaucracy since the late

My first reaction when the stories broke? Keep it up. Keep turning the page on the state’s fiscal practices. We’ve long suspected that out-of-control spending has undermined the cost-effectiveness of the state bureaucracy. Now we’re finding out that’s exactly the case. And now we need to get our own house in order. We can’t do enough to encourage this focus to root out the waste, inefficiencies and mismanagement that have clearly taken hold of state government in too many places and throughout too many operations.

While the initial stories on the Cuomo efficiency probes may have been overwhelmed by more historic news, you can bet that between now and this time next year, we’re going to hear it again and again.

There can be no turning back. The taxpayers deserve this long-overdue accounting.

Photo in text: State Senator Tom O'Mara


Schuyler County Officials

Legislature Members:

Top row (from left): Dennis Fagan, Thomas Gifford, Doris Karius, Glenn Larison

Bottom row: Michael A. Yuhasz, Barbara Halpin, Phil Barnes, Stewart Field


Legislature Chairman

Dennis Fagan, Tyrone 607-292-3687

Legislature Members:

Michael A. Yuhasz, 535-4967

Doris L. Karius, 546-5544

Barbara Halpin, 594-3683

Glenn R. Larison, 594-3385

Thomas M. Gifford, 535-9517

Phil Barnes, Watkins Glen 481-0482

Stewart Field, Watkins Glen 535-2335

County Clerk: Linda Compton, 535-8133

Sheriff: William Yessman, 535-8222

Undersheriff: Breck Spaulding, 535-8222

County Treasurer: Margaret Starbuck, 535-8181

District Attorney: Joseph Fazzary, 535-8383


State, Federal Officials for Schuyler County

Sen. Charles E. Schumer

United States Senate
313 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3201
DC Phone: 202-224-6542
DC Fax: 202-228-3027
Email Address:

Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand

United States Senate
478 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
DC Phone: 202-224-4451

State Senator Tom O'Mara -- Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Yates, western Tompkins, Enfield, Ithaca (Town and City), Newfield, Ulysses(Trumansburg)

Room 812, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Phone: (518) 455-2091
Fax: (518) 426-6976

Assemblyman Christopher Friend -- Chemung, Schuyler, Tioga
Room 720, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12248
Phone: (518) 455-4538


© The Odessa File 2011
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869