Onondaga County’s Shared Services Panel recently released a report outlining opportunities to create savings that directly address the fiscal challenges faced by our local governments. Their work is an important recognition that the status quo cannot continue, and I applaud their efforts to embrace cooperative solutions to eliminate duplication of services and tackle the tax pressures that burden our communities.
However, the current plan as outlined by the panel represents a mere 0.05 percent savings. This alone is not significant enough to be transformative. While a welcome first step, we have much more work to do. As a community, we must continue to advocate for solutions that touch every category of service and achieve a scale of service improvement and cost efficiency that will be meaningfully felt by the residents of our region.
Over the past several years the Consensus Commission on Government Modernization has put forth considerable time, thought, and effort to address how we can work together to drive savings and efficiencies. It is a missed opportunity for the panel to not have advanced more of the Consensus Commission’s recommendations.
The final recommendations presented by that commission reflect more than 100 conversations that took place across the city and county over three years involving more than 6,000 people. It’s incumbent upon our community leaders and elected officials to understand those recommendations as an overwhelming call for action. However, in the absence of such action, it is up to each citizen to ensure that current models of service delivery, which are wholly inefficient and ineffective, are reformed.
This is a time for our elected leaders to take bold action. It is my hope that members of Onondaga County’s Shared Services Panel use this plan as a starting point to drive changes that are real and necessary for our community. I encourage all residents of Onondaga County to use their voice to make sure this happens.
Robert M. (Rob) Simpson is president and CEO of CenterState CEO, the primary economic-development organization for Central New York. This viewpoint is drawn and edited from the “CEO Focus” email newsletter that the organization sent to members on Sept. 15.