April 24, 2007
Governor creates commission to study government consolidation
G. Thomas Tranter, president of Corning Enterprises and chairman of The Business Council's government affairs council, has been appointed to a newly-created commission studying local government consolidation.
The Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness was created by Governor Spitzer through an executive order on April 23. The commission is charged with “reviewing ways that New York State's over 4,200 local governments can save taxpayer dollars and become more efficient by sharing services and undertaking regional collaboration,” the Governor's office said.
The Commission, which will be chaired by will be chaired by former New York Lieutenant Governor Stan Lundine, is composed of 15 members, including four recommended by the legislative leaders of each house and one by the state Comptroller.
“The sheer number of taxing jurisdictions has led to a significant degree of overlap in public services, which has had a devastating affect on local tax burdens” said Governor Spitzer. “Under Stan Lundine's leadership this Commission will help local governments administer services more efficiently and cost effectively.”
“I applaud Governor Spitzer's commitment to regionalization and local government efficiency and I am honored to be part of this effort,” Ludine said. “There is much that can be done to drive efficiency at the local level without reducing the public's access to important services. I am honored to chair this Commission and look forward to working with Commission members to advance the Governor's agenda.”
The Governor has announced that he will ask counties to participate in the effort by asking counties to “identify at least one major initiative that is already underway or can be initiated this year, which could be a test case for the Commission's one-year regional efficiency study.”
The commission will receive support from appropriate state agencies, and day-to-day operations will be overseen by the project will be overseen by Lloyd Constantine, Senior Advisor to the Governor. The Commission is to carry out its preliminary analysis within one year, reporting its recommendations by April 15, 2008.
The commission members are: Alfred Del Bello, former New York Lieutenant Governor and head of the Westchester Property Tax Reform Commission; Gerald Benjamin, dean of liberal arts and sciences at SUNY New Paltz; Kathryn Foster, director of the University at Buffalo Regional Institute; Jonathan Drapkin, President and CEO, Mid-Hudson Pattern for Progress; Sandra Frankel, supervisor of the Town of Brighton, Monroe County, New York ; Assemblyman Sam Hoyt (D-Buffalo); Senator Craig Johnson (D-Nassau); William Johnson, former Rochester mayor; Senator Elizabeth O'Connor Little (R-Queensbury); Mark Pattison, deputy comptroller for local government and economic development services in the state Comptroller's Office; Walter Robb, retired General Electric Co. senior vice president and former head of the GE Research and Development Center in Niskayuna; Jamie Rogers, mayor of Lake Placid, New York; and Howard Weitzman, the Nassau County Comptroller.
Nearly 28 percent of respondents selected consolidation of local governments or local government services as their top government reform priority on the 2006 fall membership survey. Almost half said it was one of their top two concerns. The Council has urged lawmakers to consider ways to consolidate local services as a means to reduce waste and lower taxpayer burdens.
More information is available at www.nyslocalgov.org.