Assemblywoman Russell: State Will Save At Least $250 Million, Make Government More Efficient

March 12, 2009

Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell (D-Theresa) announced that a proposal to be included in the state budget will reform the way the state handles technology procurement – saving the state at least $250 million over three years and making government more transparent and less costly.

“We must always continue to look at strategic ways we can reduce state operating costs,” Ms. Russell said. “We have plenty of talented state workers who are eager to be trained in IT, and amid the current recession, it is crucial that we utilize our in-house resources.”

Ms. Russell said the state is paying premium prices for IT contracts. These contracts appear limited in time; however, they are often renewed automatically for long periods of time. As a result, IT skills development and training provided to state employees is sporadic and insufficient to keep the state workforce up-to-date and technically adept.

“Not only does this proposal save taxpayers millions, it requires agencies with IT contracts to implement a plan to train their employees,” Ms. Russell said. “This proposal will streamline government, making it more self-sufficient in the future and continue to cut costs immediately and for years to come.”

The Assembly’s procurement reforms:

  • Require the Office for Technology (OFT) to produce a plan to create an enterprise technology for the state that will make technology purchases by different agencies compatible and less expensive and detail a technology skills assessment and plan to meet the state’s future technology needs;
  • Allow OFT to enter into centralized technology contracts that will permit state agencies and local governments to take advantage of bulk purchases in order to purchase technology more cheaply – saving municipalities between 20 and 40 percent on IT purchases;
  • Require all agencies spending over $15 million per year on outside IT contractors to reduce spending on such contractors by 50 percent by April 1, 2012 – saving the state up to $36 million during 2009-10 as contracts come up for renewal;
  • Require OGS to report on improvements in standards, best practices, usage of technology, and a strategic plan to increase centralized aggregate purchasing;

State agencies frequently use their own independent technology infrastructure for a variety of services including server and e-mail applications – consolidation of these services through OFT would save the state at least $51.5 million annually.

Ms. Russell said that based on savings other states have achieved by applying similar procurement spending reforms, New York State expects to save a total of $250 million over the next three fiscal years, and between $40 and $50 million annually thereafter.