Updates from the Commission on Government Administration

Second Look Project
June 11, 2012

New York state government’s organization, management, administration, operations, technologies, procedures, and practices are considered by the Commission for the purpose of examining the feasibility of and making legislative recommendations for improving state administration and operations, and identifying opportunities for enhancing transparency and accountability in government operations. Over the years, the Commission has contributed to several improvements to New York state government in areas such as financial management, budget process reform, procurement, information management, and capital planning and budgeting.

In New York, and in other states, particularly under difficult fiscal conditions, governors often convene special task forces, councils and commissions to take a closer look at issues in governmental finance, structures and management. These intense efforts bring together considerable talent to examine the issues, and usually result in well-considered reports and recommendations. When I became Chair of the Commission, we started taking a “second-look” at some of the recent reports resulting from these entities. We examined the recommendations suggested by these studies, to try to identify further topics for Commission evaluation and action. Among the reports reviewed were ones proposing to improve local government operations, higher education collaboration, business creation, infrastructure enhancement, and state government productivity.

Some general recommendations were found throughout a number of these reports, such as better technology usage, utilizing performance measurement metrics, and improving fiscal processes. The Assembly, and the Commission on Government Administration, has long advocated reforms to enhance the state budgeting process, increase accountability, establish a better picture of the how services and programs are being provided, and advance the use of technology. Thus far, as part of our ongoing process to effect more efficient operations in New York State, I am proposing three bills this session:

A.9273 would cut the cost and complexity of small business participation in adjudicatory proceedings by allowing agencies to offer streamlined optional proceedings to small businesses, to be conducted by mail, e-mail, telephone conferencing, or videoconferencing.

A.9530 would require state agencies to furnish the legislature and governor with any strategic plans or performance reports prepared during the prior fiscal year, to facilitate better budgeting for programs and policy decisions.

A.9571 would create a blue ribbon commission that will be charged with designing a performance-management and performance-budgeting model for New York to adopt, to provide better information by which legislators and the public can evaluate how tax dollars are being spent.

As these bills advance through the legislative process, it is my expectation that the Commission will continue its second look at earlier proposals for reform and how these recommendations could be applied now in New York State.

George Latimer, Member of Assembly, 91st A.D.
Chair, NYS Assembly Commission on Government Administration