Updates from the Commission on Government Administration

Public Hearing Summary
Hearing on Tuesday, May 22, 2012
June 11, 2012

On May 22, 2012, the Legislative Commission on Government Administration, along with the Assembly Committee on Governmental Operations and the Assembly Committee on Oversight, Analysis, and Investigation, held a public hearing in Albany to examine how New York State’s agencies and municipalities are currently using advances in information technology and how such advances can be used to create jobs and serve the public more efficiently and more responsively.

New developments in information technology (IT) raise questions about how governments at all levels can change their business procedures to improve programs and services, and better provide transparency, accountability, and efficiency. Over the past few decades, integrating technologies into state operations has transformed processes and decision-making significantly.

The Assembly members heard wide-ranging testimony from state agencies, academic experts, public interest groups and others regarding some of the promises and challenges resulting from new technologies. Witnesses included the Commissioner of the Office of General Services and the Acting Chief Information Officer and Director of the Office for Technology, both of whom provided information on new state initiatives to streamline government operations and the important advancements taking place with technology in New York State government. The New York State Assistant Commissioner for Archives and Records, the Chief Information Officer of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the Assistant Director of the Committee on Open Government also joined in to describe how their agencies are now using information technology, as well as outlining some of the management and fiscal challenges. Additionally, representatives from the State University at Albany and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and participants from public interest groups provided additional perspective on developments in other national, state, and municipal governments as well as outlining recommendations on how New York might better utilize information technology.

As an example, Assemblyman Latimer raised the issue with the CIO at MTA of allowing on-board use of credit cards to pay for tickets; he cited the benefit of greater convenience for the commuter, and greater cash flow control for the MTA, in instituting such a service. He used this to place priority on identifying enhanced uses of technology to specifically benefit the resident, or the user of the service, in a direct, defined manner.

The Commission on Government Administration expects to continue to work with the Committees to further explore the many insights provided at the hearing on how new advances in IT have made, and will continue to make, significant impact in providing better services and programs here in New York.