NY Governor creates waste cutting "SWAT" teams
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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) isn’t taking reports detailing egregious wasteful spending in his state lightly. As The New York Times reports, the Cuomo administration had deployed in-house agency “SWAT teams” tasking them with renegotiating contracts with vendors. These “SWAT teams” are arguably just as important as those other SWAT teams, as their efforts are expected to yield $600 million in savings over five years
From The New York Times:
Albany’s well-known dysfunction, it turns out, is not limited to the legislative coups, indictments and resignations that have dominated headlines in recent years. State government’s daily operations — the $3 billion in goods and services New York buys every year, the real estate that state agencies own and lease, and more — are plagued by waste and often bewildering inefficiency, according to a series of audits nearing completion under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
Eliminating unnecessary spending has taken on new urgency as Mr. Cuomo and his aides seek to cut roughly $1 billion a year from New York’s operations budget and to bring new discipline to state spending. Half of the savings is scheduled to come out of spending on real estate, office supplies, computers and even groceries: The state spends $105 million a year on food to serve at prisons, youth homes and other institutions, including $938,000 on kosher hot dogs.
From the New York Post:
Wasteful highlights include:
1 million square feet of unused state office space in New York City, nearly 2,000 vendors providing often duplicated products and services, and 425 toll-free phone numbers that haven’t been used in months.
Cuomo’s aides found the state pays IBM $224 an hour for data-entry personnel working on one project while the state paid another vendor, Keane, $106.32 an hour for what was described as identical services.
They found a state agency paying $3.14 per dozen for medium-tip, blue-ink ballpoint pens, while another state agency paid $8.93 for the exact same product.
“There is no end to the horror stories,” said Howard Glaser, Cuomo’s director of state operation, who is directing the efficiency probes.
“We buy $3 billion worth of stuff every year and we are the size of a Walmart,” Glaser said. “But we buy like we’re 100 different 7-Elevens, and that results in wasting a lot of taxpayer money.”
It’s encouraging to see Governor Cuomo’s administration making a concerted effort to use taxpayer money wisely. Governors around the country may do well to follow his example.