January 5, 2011

No. 4: Establishing the Spending and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Commission

TOP No. 4: Establishing the Spending and Government...

           WHEREAS, instead of an efficient, sensible system of government, New York State has numerous agencies, authorities and other bodies whose jurisdiction overlaps, resulting in a waste of taxpayers money, impeding New York State governments ability to formulate public policy and undermining its capacity to efficiently deliver necessary services;


            WHEREAS, since the completion of the last comprehensive governmental reorganization in 1927, New York State government has enlarged its workforce from 29,000 to more than 190,000 and increased its annual budget from $239 million to $135 billion;


           WHEREAS, this growth has been accompanied by an explosion in the number of agencies and public authorities so that today, there exist close to 1,000 state agencies, authorities, commissions and other statutorily created bodies; 


            WHEREAS, New York State government now faces unprecedented budgetary challenges that require fundamental changes in the way it does business, including eliminating failed approaches and creating improved ways to serve the public;  


           WHEREAS, it is incumbent on those charged with providing government services to protect the publics health and safety, educate our citizens, promote economic development, provide necessary infrastructure, safeguard fundamental rights and perform other essential functions in a manner that avoids duplication, delay and unnecessary regulation and bureaucracy; 


            WHEREAS, New York State has many business leaders with experience in restructuring complex organizations and educational and other non-profit institutions with the knowledge and expertise necessary to improve the operations and accountability of government;


            WHEREAS, it is of compelling public importance that New York State undertake a redesign of its inefficient and outdated state government structure and operations by doing a comprehensive review of every agency of state government and recommending structural and operational changes in the government; and

            WHEREAS, such a review will allow for the elimination or more efficient organization of duplicative, outdated, unnecessary and ineffective agencies and authorities and provide for operational improvements so that government functions effectively and serves taxpayers at the lowest cost with the greatest value;


            NOW, THEREFORE, I, Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of the State of New York, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of New York, do hereby order as follows: 


A. Definitions


            As used herein, the following terms shall have the following meanings:


            1.   State agency or agency shall mean any state agency, department, office, board, bureau, division, committee, council or office.


            2.   Public authority or authority shall mean a public authority or public benefit corporation created by or existing under any New York State law, with one or more of its members appointed by the Governor or who serve as members by virtue of holding a civil office of New York State, other than an interstate or international authority or public benefit corporation, including any subsidiaries of such public authority or public benefit corporation.


B. Spending and Government Efficiency Commission 


            1.   There is hereby established the Spending and Government Efficiency Commission (SAGE Commission) that shall exist to provide independent guidance for, and advice to, the Governor.


            2.  The Governor shall appoint up to 20 voting members of the SAGE Commission.  The members of the SAGE Commission shall include:  private citizens; two members of the New York State Assembly, one recommended by the Speaker of the Assembly and one recommended by the Minority Leader of the Assembly; and two members of the New York State Senate, one recommended by the Temporary President of the Senate and one recommended by the Minority Leader of the Senate.  The Director of State Agency Redesign and Efficiency shall serve as a Co-Chair of the SAGE Commission and will be responsible for managing any staff whom the Governor shall appoint. The Governor shall designate one or more additional Co-Chairs from among the other members of the SAGE Commission.  The SAGE Commission shall be authorized to create sub-committees and task forces that include individuals who are not members of the SAGE Commission, provided that any recommendation of such sub-committees and task forces must be approved by the SAGE Commission before being sent to the Governor.  The Director of the Division of the Budget and the Director of State Operations shall serve as ex officio, non-voting members of the Commission.


            3.   Vacancies shall be filled by the Governor, and the Governor may appoint additional members to the SAGE Commission as necessary.  Members of the SAGE Commission shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor. 


            4.  A majority of the total members of the SAGE Commission who have been appointed shall constitute a quorum, and all recommendations of the SAGE Commission shall require approval of a majority of its total members appointed by the Governor.


            5.   The SAGE Commission shall attempt to engage and solicit the input of a broad and diverse range of groups, organizations, and individuals, including, without limitation, members of the New York State Legislature and representatives of public sector employees.


C.  Cooperation with the SAGE Commission


            1.  Every agency or authority of New York State shall provide to the SAGE Commission every assistance and cooperation, including use of New York State facilities, which may be necessary or desirable to fulfill the purposes of this Executive Order. 


            2.   Staff support necessary for the conduct of the SAGE Commissions work may be furnished by agencies and authorities (subject to the approval of the boards of directors of such authorities). Additional funding necessary for the Commissions work shall be provided from sources, including appropriated funds, to the extent of available appropriations.  The SAGE Commission may draw upon the human resources, expertise and funding of private institutions, including those institutions associated with individuals appointed to the SAGE Commission, as those private institutions deem appropriate, and as consistent with all statutes, rules and guidance from the New York State Commission on Public Integrity regarding such assistance.  Such assistance shall be provided without financial remuneration and shall not be provided under any circumstances that would create an actual conflict of interest, or the appearance of such a conflict.


D. Duties and Purpose


            1.   The SAGE Commission shall comprehensively review and assess New York State government, including, but not limited to, its structures, operations and processes for governing, with the goal of saving taxpayer money, increasing accountability and improving the delivery of government services.  This review shall also include a review of commissions, task forces and councils created by Executive Order or otherwise.


            2.   The SAGE Commission is charged with redesigning the organizational structure of government by streamlining, consolidating or eliminating redundant and unnecessary agencies, authorities, commissions and other bodies that have overlapping missions; identifying operational improvements that increase cost effectiveness and improve service quality such as shared services, enhanced use of Information Technology and changes in service delivery mechanisms; creating meaningful metrics and targets to highlight inefficiencies; and identifying activities that are not central to the core mission of agencies, authorities or New York State government.  The SAGE Commission shall be asked to make recommendations that, if implemented, would result in the reduction of at least 20 percent of the number of existing agencies and authorities.


            3.   The SAGE Commission shall also examine ways for the government to be more flexible, transparent, user-friendly and accountable to residents of New York State, including, without limitation, by developing a performance management system with meaningful and transparent metrics and targets.


            4.   The SAGE Commission shall commence its work not later than January 7, 2011.  The SAGE Commission shall submit its recommendations on agency and authority reorganizations not later than May 1, 2011 or such other date as the Governor shall advise the SAGE Commission.  It shall submit its recommendations for operational efficiencies on an ongoing basis, with a final report to be presented to the Governor on or before June 1, 2012 or such other date as the Governor shall advise the SAGE Commission. The SAGE Commission shall terminate its work and be relieved of all responsibilities and duties hereunder with the submission of its final report.



G I V E N   under my hand and the Privy Seal of the

State in the City of Albany this fifth day of

January in the year two thousand eleven.




BY THE GOVERNOR                                                                                                                                           


            Secretary to the Governor