Brigid Bergin is the City Hall reporter for WNYC. She covers city politics including the 2013 mayoral race and transition.
Governor Cuomo issued his tenth Executive Order on Wednesday which would reduce the costs of personal services contracts used by state agencies by 10 percent.
From the announcement:
Under the order, agencies will be permitted to renew certain PSCs only if the contractor agrees to the reduction or with the approval of the Director of State Operations.
"My proposed budget calls for significant savings from State agencies and reducing the cost of contracts those agencies enter into will help achieve our goal," Governor Cuomo said. "My administration will continue looking for ways to save taxpayers' money across all sectors of our government, and asking companies that do business with the State to find new efficiencies and lower their costs is a critical part of the process."
The state uses PSCs in areas including research and analysis, data processing, computer programming, engineering, environmental assessment, health and mental health services, and accounting.
State agencies will also be required to examine the roles currently assigned to PSCs and take all reasonable measures to ensure that the same services could not be acquired at a lower price.
These measures include discussing lower price options with current contractors, deciding whether re-bidding contract would achieve cost savings and working with the Director of State Agency Redesign and Efficiency to determine if savings could be achieved through bundling with other state agencies currently utilizing the same contractor.
The Spending and Government Efficiency Commission, created by Executive Order No. 4, will continue to review the state's practices regarding contracts for personal services to identify additional ways to reduce their number and cost.
Citizen's Budget Commission President Carol Kellerman, after thanking me for pointing this out to her, called this move "a positive statement."
"It's like [Cuomo's] saying, 'I'm cutting the salary of managers. I'm capping the salary of superintendents. I'm showing I'm cognizant of the fact that there are also consultants," explained Kellerman. "It's about putting agencies through hurdles."