Albany, NY - The New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF) today provided examples of ways the state can save an estimated $55.6 million to $84.3 million a year. The savings can be achieved by having state employees do between 50 percent and 90 percent of the work currently done by more expensive private consultants at the state Department of Transportation (DOT).
Edward Lucas, PEF Executive Board Member and DOT civil engineer, testified at an Assembly hearing on DOT's two-year capital plan. Lucas provided testimony that showed how much the state can save by having state employees do the work currently being done at a much higher cost by consultants.
“Now more than ever the state simply can't afford to continue wasteful spending. Our research shows the cost, on average, of a DOT engineer, including benefits, is $50.11 an hour. Comparable private consultant engineers charge the state up to $99 or $49 more an hour,” Lucas testified.
“Even more work is going to consultant engineers this year. For the first half of the current fiscal year, DOT’s capital-projects’ consultant spending has increased by more than 22 percent from $113.5 million to $138.45 million for bridge inspection, engineering, engineering supervision and materials testing.”
Lucas also said, “If DOT’s current capital program continues on the same path, the number of state bridges considered deficient will increase from 31 percent of all state bridges currently to 35 percent in 2016 and to 40 percent in 2025.”
Since 2000, the number of DOT state employees has decreased by 1,900 employees, with more than 1,000 being engineers.
“We’ve reached a tipping point. The work force at DOT has been slashed and cut to the point where DOT no longer has the capability to do work that was done more efficiently and cost effectively in-house. New York faces multi-year deficits that could be as high or higher than $10 billion. We have a responsibility to make sure every tax dollar is well spent. We can no longer afford policies that benefit the corporate CEOs of engineering firms at the expense of middle-class workers,” Lucas said.