ALBANY - The state Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) could have saved taxpayers $9.5 million last year if it had cut its dependence on costly private consultants by half and let its own employees do the work, instead. That's the finding of a new report released today by the NYS Public Employees Federation (PEF).
"New Yorkers cannot afford this irresponsible waste of their hard-earned dollars," said PEF President Ken Brynien. "It's high time the state Senate passed bill (A5128-B/S3093A) that would require state agencies to compare costs and use state employees when they can do work more economically then private consultants. Enacting this law, passed previously by the Assembly, would finally begin to bring down the quarter of a billion dollars state agencies are now wasting every year on private consultants.
The report on consultant spending at OCFS is the sixth in a series of such studies PEF has released this spring, aimed at spotlighting wasteful state spending on private consultants.
According to the study, in just the last two years, OCFS hiked its spending on consultants by 19 percent while cutting its own workforce by 11 percent. Last year, the agency paid a private contractor $163 per hour for the services of an information system manager. That's 106 percent more than OCFS pays its own employees to do the work, even when you consider the cost of their pensions and benefits.
OCFS' prime training contractor, the Research Foundation of the State University of New York, has paid its "chief executives" up to $251 an hour for short-term contracts. That's the equivalent of $488,000 a year. On average, the foundation's consultants with the title chief executive are paid $157 per hour, or the equivalent of more than $307,500 a year. That's more than 50 percent higher than OCFS pays its own commissioner.