Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, Putnam County, today sent a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo that the Democratic governor schedule a public hearing of the Savings and Government Efficiencies (SAGE) Commission before next Friday, Feb. 18.
Ball is the only elected official to announce that he’s a member of the committee, one of three set up by Cuomo to look into how to cut government costs. The other two, a Medicaid reform panel and a mandate relief group, have held public meetings and are up against a March 1 deadline to offer their recommendations.
The SAGE commission is different, though, and isn’t expected to provide its first findings until May 1. They are tasked with cutting state agencies by 20 percent, but there isn’t that expectation in the coming fiscal year, which starts April 1.
Still, Ball is pressing Cuomo to have the group meet in public.
In fact, Cuomo’s office has yet to even announce who is on the panel. Ball said he’s one of 20 people on it.
Ball also started a website on the task of the SAGE commission called YouCutAlbany.com to allow people to offer their suggestions on how to cut state government.
Here’s the letter.
I respectfully request that a Public Hearing of the Savings and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Commission be scheduled before February 18 so that we may immediately begin the work of finding opportunities to cut government operations by at least twenty percent.
As you are aware, appointments to the SAGE Commission began the first week of January. Now, six weeks after the first appointments, the SAGE Commission has not yet scheduled its first meeting. I also ask that you request Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver recommend a member of the Majority Conference of the State Assembly to be appointed to the Commission, as it is my understanding he has yet to do so.
I thank you for providing me with the opportunity to serve on this commission and I believe we must immediately begin the hard work to identify waste and duplicative services so that we can meet the people’s expectations for streamlining state government.
Gregory R. Ball