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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, www.omara.nysenate.gov. 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
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
Top row (from left): Dennis Fagan, Thomas Gifford, Doris Karius, Glenn Larison
Bottom row: Michael A. Yuhasz, Barbara Halpin, Phil Barnes, Stewart Field
Dennis Fagan, Tyrone 607-292-3687
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
Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand
United States Senate
State Senator Tom O'Mara -- Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Yates, western Tompkins, Enfield, Ithaca (Town and City), Newfield, Ulysses(Trumansburg)
Room 812, Legislative Office Building
Assemblyman Christopher Friend --
Chemung, Schuyler, Tioga
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869