Shared services, consolidations to save NY nearly $15m annually, Gov Says

The State of New York is looking to merge and consolidate seven agencies and authorities under Governor David Paterson’s new budget proposal – a move his administration says will save $14.8 million per year. Among some of the more substantial changes, Gov. Paterson called for the creation of a new Homeland Security division, the combining of several criminal justice groups and the coordination of state technology efforts through recommendations made by the Office of Taxpayer Accountability.

According to Gov. Paterson’s 2010-11 Executive Budget, the Office of Homeland Security, State Emergency Management Office, the State 911 Board, the Office of Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure Coordination and the Office of Fire Prevention and Control will merge into a single State agency, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. The new division will better serve first responders by streamlining grant application processes and by coordinating state and local programs with federal efforts, especially those focused on interoperable communication networks.

Gov. Paterson also advocates for the Crime Victims Board, Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, and Division of Probation and Correctional Alternatives to merge with the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). Officials say DCJS already provides administrative support to these and other agencies and the merger would foster improved coordination of policies and grant applications. According to the governor’s numbers, the combination of law enforcement and criminal justice operations would yield over $3.4 million annually.

In addition to these and similar consolidations, the 2010-11 Executive Budget will advance Office of Taxpayer Accountability (OTA) recommendations, expected to produce recurring savings of at least $50 million in 2010-11, officials said.

Several technology-based solutions are sought in OTA’s recommendations, including shared services tools, such as e-licensing and consolidated call centers; a single e-mail platform for the State’s over forty agencies; a public-private shared data center; a statewide human resources system and learning management system; an e-procurement system and a statewide financial system. The state will also develop EmpireStat, a performance management tool, to assess whether the state is making progress in the various areas of policy concern.

Additionally, Gov. Paterson wants to push aggressively for the consolidation of technology services under the Chief Information Officer/ Office for Technology (CIO/OFT) to reduce statewide technology costs and unify technology policies and principles. The OTA and CIO/OFT will establish a charter to make sure all state agencies adhere to the governance structure and business model when purchasing IT products and delivering services statewide.

“In a time of plummeting revenues and limited resources, it is critical to ensure that important State services are delivered in the most cost-effective and efficient manner possible,” Gov. Paterson said in a statement. “Given the substantial financial difficulties we are facing, significant additional cuts will be necessary in my proposed budget. But the improved efficiencies we are announcing today are another important step forward in our efforts to lower costs and root out waste on behalf of New York’s taxpayers.”

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