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Friday, December 19, 2014
A man is only as good as his word

When Governor Andrew M. Cuomo first took office in 2011, he stressed the need to “fundamentally realign state government and face up to its overspending problems before it is too late.” His high-minded presentation left little doubt that our fiscal outlook is currently challenging solvency, with spending for state and local authorities in excess of $53.4 billion and another $233.3 billion in debt hanging over our heads.

To achieve the realignment necessary, on Jan. 5, 2011, the governor issued Executive Order No. 4 that established a Spending and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Commission to provide recommendations that would result in the closure of at least 20 percent of the agencies and authorities in operation, with a report due date of June 1, 2012.

On April 19, 2011, appointments of the usual mix of former and current politicians, business and union leaders were announced with Paul Francis, Director of Agency Redesign and Efficiency and Antonio Perez, Chairman and CEO of Eastman Kodak designated Co-Chairs. Promising?

On Dec. 15, 2011 the commission released a 72 page report that was primarily mission oriented, avoiding any definitive statement on how to really realign, right-size, or outright eliminate hundreds of entities that no longer effectively serve the public need. One group, representing state workers, found the report less than useful.

2012 proved to be an equally fruitless year with their website in vegetation status. With a final report due for release, I called Antonio Perez in Rochester to learn that he left the commission and was replaced by Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy. I also called Co-Chair Francis and the press office of the governor to determine if the commission was still active. Both calls were never returned.

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