Deputy Mayor Suggests Plan To Make NYC Government Leaner

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Just four months after being appointed by Mayor Bloomberg to head the Office of Operations, Stephen Goldsmith has hit the ground running while gaining the confidence of good government groups and administration critics on the way. The recent praise has come after two recent reports analyzing cost efficiencies in mayoral agencies with a separate report exclusively on the Department of Education. Highlights included a drastically different picture than the top down, highly-organized bureaucracy normally professed by City Hall officials. Surprising many, Deputy Mayor Goldsmith pointed out multiple areas where officials have been wasteful and prescribed belt-tightening adjustments which could save the city $500 millions over the next 4 years.

Recommendations focused on operational efficiency and accountability, with suggestions in the following areas:

Information Technology in the city “currently operates in a large and fragmented … environment, consisting of more than 80 data centers that support approximately 3,000 applications in more than 50 different locations.” The report suggested that consolidating and modernizing this infrastructure would save nearly $60 million over the next four years.

Human Resource Management was described as being “highly decentralized” and lacking any kind of citywide coordination evident by the one human resources employee for every 38 workers ratio, compared, to an average 95:1 ratio in organizations “similar to the city”. In his report, Goldsmith cities that centralizing resources could save more than $100 million over the next four years.

Fleet Operations come at a hefty price tag with a fleet that includes over 26,000 vehicles and other mobile equipment, at a cost of $667 million a year. Downsizing, consolidating and privatizing services could save up to $71 million over four years.

Payment and Revenue Collection reaped the city over $40 billion last year in taxes, fines, rents and other revenue. But according to findings, the same work could be done in addition to saving $25 million to $35 million by consolidating collection operations. Looking to stronger enforcement techniques would  increase collections by $100 million.

Real Estate Management did not escape the cross-hairs of Stephen Goldsmith. Of the 19 million square feet of office space currently leased at a cost of $435 million per year, the report suggests reducing the city’s rental space by 1.2 million square feet. Putting a single agency in-charge of property acquisition and management in addition to these changes would save $36 million a year by 2014.

In addition, The Office of Operations also issued a report with an exhaustive review of Joe Klein’s Department of Education — which is definitely worth taking the time to read. The information is refreshing in it’s detail, and specifically discusses the role of principals who currently navigate a decentralized system that invests increased decision-making power on the local level. The review explains why some school leaders flourish while others languish without a rigid structure.

In the end, all this information is priceless to advocacy groups that have been locked out from knowing the fiscal practices of city government.  If this is any indicator of the work we can expect from the Indianapolis technocrat, then on behalf of vigilant New Yorkers everywhere, let me say: Welcome to the Big Apple!