Thursday, February 17, 2011

State Agency Consolidation Approved in Committee

Rep. Jason Murphey
A significant consolidation of state government administrative overhead could be set to take place following today’s approval of House Bill 2140 by the House of Representatives Government Modernization Committee.

House Bill 2140 proposes to consolidate seven of Oklahoma’s central service state agencies into one agency.

“We are committed to right sizing state government,” stated House Speaker Kris Steele who serves as the author of the legislation. “Consolidating central services agencies is a great first step toward the goal of making state government more efficient and responsive to the needs of Oklahoma taxpayers.”

Steele authored the legislation after an interim study found that Oklahoma could realize millions of dollars of savings if Oklahoma followed best practices that are occurring in other states.

The legislation is patterned after the central services governance structures used in Montana, Indiana and Utah.

“This vote represents the first time in recent history that a significant consolidation of state agencies has been approved by a standing House committee,” said state Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie and chair of the Government Modernization Committee. “The consolidation of these seven state agencies will save the taxpayers millions of dollars every year.”

Murphey said the bill will also set the stage for future significant consolidations.

“This bill makes the case for consolidating state agencies based on similar mission and subject matter,” he said.

House Bill 2140 was approved by a vote of 11-2 and now heads to the full House for additional consideration.

The State Government Administrative Process Consolidation and Reorganization Reform Act of 2011 consolidates the following agencies into the Office of State Finance (OSF):

-Department of Central Services
-Office of Personnel Management
-Oklahoma Merit Protection Commission
-Oklahoma Department of Libraries
-Oklahoma State Employees Benefits Council
-Oklahoma State and Education Employees Group Insurance Board

The bill directs the Director of OSF to consolidate all of the agencies’ administrative functions by December 31, 2011, and to demonstrate a 15% overall cost reduction as a result.

A 15% cost savings from consolidation of the above agencies based on their total operating budget figure would be $22,173,934.

Where the specific cost savings will come from in the consolidation is left to the discretion of the Director of OSF who shall provide recommendations to the Legislature.
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