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Administration and Finance Efficiencies
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FY2010 House 1 Budget Recommendation:
Deval L. Patrick, Governor
Timothy P. Murray, Lt. Governor
The Executive Office for Administration and Finance (A&F) launched its second round of efficiencies meetings dedicated to defining new initiatives that will help state government become more stream-lined and effective. Thirteen agencies were asked to participate and submitted a combined total of fifty-five proposals that either identified cost-savings opportunities; applied best management practices; or positively impacted policy initiatives. The participating agencies were divided into two working groups that met on a monthly basis. All of the agencies offered thoughtful and purposeful solutions to improving common work-place practices. A few key initiatives captured the type of “game-changing” opportunities needed to successfully navigate through what has proven to be a very challenging fiscal environment.
CD-ROM Recording System
The Civil Service Commission (CSC) invested in a new CD-ROM recording system as part of their efficiencies. Currently, all hearings are recorded on audio cassette tapes. When a party requests a copy of the tapes, the process of having someone retrieve and mail it is inefficient, costly and time-consuming. The new CD-ROM system has a higher recording capacity and all parties can receive a copy at the conclusion of the hearing, thus eliminating an unnecessary administrative process and increasing the department’s productivity. IT bond funding will be used to purchase additional CD-ROMs for the Division of Administrative Law Appeals (DALA) and possibly the Appellate Tax Board (ATB).
Massachusetts Information Technology Center (MITC) Study
In fiscal year 2008, an independent contractor conducted an assessment of the MITC building and recommended ways to maximize the use of building space and implement cost savings. The November 2008 study identified key areas for improvements in security, data center capacity and overall management of building systems which support the facility. The results of the study will be used to make necessary improvements to the MITC data center as well as assist in the first stage of planning for a second, more energy-efficient data center.
Maximizing Prompt Pay Discounts
Beginning in fiscal year 2007, the Office of the Comptroller (OSC) launched a prompt pay discount program that built certain discounts into our vendor contracts to encourage agencies to process their bills quickly in order to take advantage of the discount terms offered. In fiscal year 2007, $2.29 million worth of discounts were taken; $3.37 million in fiscal year 2008; and already $1.86 million in the first six months of fiscal year 2009. The Comptroller’s office continues to work with agencies to identify areas where discounts are not being maximized, and offers management reports on a regular basis to highlight areas in which savings were taken and to identify new opportunities for savings.
Vendor Receivable Audit
A contingency-based contract agreement was signed in November 2008 to complete an audit of vendor receivables for credits owed to the Commonwealth. Accounts receivable audits examine vendor documentation to determine if credits are owed to the Commonwealth. Although this type of audit is conducted in the private sector, this is the first of its kind for government. It is expected that this service will allow the Commonwealth to recover over-billings, taxed purchases and other charges incorrectly imposed on state departments. This section will be filed in a technical bill along with the Governor’s H.1 recommendations.
WebFile for Income Tax Filing Program
For the upcoming tax filing season, the Department of Revenue (DOR) created an online filing program which allows most taxpayers who file basic tax returns to file their income taxes conveniently, securely and at no cost using the Department’s WebFile program. The goal of this initiative is to drive down the number of paper filings, thus decreasing the administrative cost associated with processing paper returns; to provide the Commonwealth’s citizens with access to a system that saves them time and money; and to provide the Commonwealth with a more eco-friendly approach to doing business. For more information about WebFile, visit DOR's website at: www.mass.gov/dor.
Implementation of Energy-Efficient Measures
In September 2008, the Bureau of State Office Buildings (BSB) was presented with the Commonwealth’s Leading by Example Award for implementing energy-efficient management practices. Measures, such as lighting control systems and use of utility rebates, have met the tenets of Executive Order No. 484 and earned the Commonwealth approximately $400,000 in savings.
Information Technology Consolidation
Along with H.1, Governor Patrick has signed an Executive Order that fully supports the Information Technology Division’s (ITD) proposal to consolidate all Information Technology spending and infrastructure within the Executive Branch. Each Secretariat will have all IT-related funding consolidated in an account to be managed and allocated by the Secretariat Chief Information Officer. The goal is to coordinate and strategically plan for IT spending statewide by working at the Secretariat level and with the Commonwealth’s Chief Information Officer. (See policy brief entitled Information Technology Consolidation)
Operation Services Management Fee
The Operations Services Division (OSD) will charge a 1% administrative transaction fee to all statewide contract vendors based upon their gross sales to Commonwealth agencies. The revenues generated will be deposited into an Operational Services Trust Fund and will be used over time to supplant OSD’s General Fund appropriation received through the budget. (See policy brief entitled Statewide Contracts Administrative Fee)
Small Business Program
In fiscal year 2008, the Operational Services Division (OSD) solicited proposals from business consultants to establish a comprehensive small business purchasing program for the Commonwealth. The goal of the program is to serve the small business community in Massachusetts by providing opportunities to do business with state and local governments through purchasing and/or contracting of goods and services, and most importantly, to provide an economic boost to the Commonwealth by increasing the value and number of state contracts awarded to small businesses, including women and minority-owned businesses. To date, phase 1 of this project has been completed and recommendations on the proposed Small Business Purchasing Program were presented to A&F and the Governor’s Office in October 2008. OSD hopes to use the revenues generated from its new 1% Administrative Fee to support programs under its purview, such as the Affirmative Market and Small Business Programs.
Surplus Property Bill
In conjunction with the fiscal year 2010 H.1 recommendations, a companion bill has been filed related to the disposition of Surplus Property. The bill was proposed by an inter-agency working group, chaired by Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, and it establishes a new, expedited process for disposing of surplus state real property based on smart growth land use policies. It provides for state-owned properties which are no longer needed for state purposes to be used for municipal purposes or for economic development, affordable housing, and other uses. (See policy brief entitled Surplus Property Legislation)
Prepared by the Executive Office for Administration and Finance · Rooms 373 & 272 · State House
For more information contact:
Chantal Mont-Louis (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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