Text of Letter from Comptroller Dinapoli to Commission Members
Dear Commission Member:
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for agreeing to serve as a member of my newly established Management Review Commission for the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC). I am both delighted and honored that we will be working together in this endeavor to provide a thorough review and evaluation of the staffing, operations and policies of this Office. Our efforts will provide a new direction for this Office, to appropriately and judiciously address the responsibilities of the agency’s mission in the context of reform, transparency and technology.
Because of your participation and the involvement of other professionals, I believe the Commission will be drawing from an unprecedented assemblage of expertise, experience and vision. Commission members, having already achieved individual acclaim and recognition, possess the rare and valuable tools to establish an innovative model for this Office, and it is my hope that our work will also contribute to improvements at all levels of government management in the 21st century.
The Commission’s work will focus on five key areas that fall within the auspices of the State Comptroller. In order to achieve the objectives of this effort, I have established a very ambitious charge for the Commission utilizing an esteemed group of leaders from both the public and private sectors whose expertise in these areas is unparalleled. The five areas to be addressed by the Commission are as follows:
Organizational Structure: OSC has been functioning in a professional and productive manner. However, the time is appropriate for a full organizational review of the structure, function and operations of the various major units within the agency in order to ensure that the current configuration is both efficient and ready to deal with the financial management challenges of the next decade.
Management Audit Plan: Audits by OSC of State agencies, public authorities and local governments should focus on areas of high financial risk, promote positive change through best practices reviews and provide a broad focus on the management performance of these units of government. Methods of achieving these goals should be addressed.
Staffing: The staff of OSC has been widely praised for being professional and of extraordinarily high caliber. Indeed, some have been recruited and are now working for the new Governor and others have sought and found important private-sector opportunities. A staffing review is obviously necessary to ensure that the professional needs of the new OSC are appropriately being met and a recruitment campaign for the best and the brightest is underway to supplement the current professional staff.
Internal Controls: Serious questions have been raised about the internal control structure in the Executive Office of the State Comptroller. The new Comptroller must restore public confidence by ensuring that the internal control processes apply not only to agency operations, but also to the Comptroller himself.
Policies: OSC, with the advice of the Commission, should establish task forces of both internal and external individuals to examine responses to new policy challenges facing the State and OSC. These include: (1) methods to help the State and local government cope with new mandates to account for the costs of retiree health care benefits; (2) the proper use of public debt and the utility of new debt models to fund State and public authority capital needs; (3) more complete and comprehensive reporting of the Common Retirement Fund – including details on how the fund works with and invests in Minority and Women-Owned Enterprises – to enable greater public understanding of Fund operations; (4) a series of initiatives that a fiduciary must consider to effectively use the State’s public investments, in the face of the Common Retirement Fund’s growing activity in the New York State economy, its housing and real estate markets; and (5) a series of joint initiatives with the Executive to improve financial reporting and agency accountability.
The charge of the Commission is ambitious, yet necessary. We are faced with a rare opportunity to shape the future direction of this Office. It is my goal to restore the reputation of the Comptroller’s Office and once again ensure that our work serves as a positive role model for other State agencies, public authorities and private entities. Reform has taken hold in Albany and it is our responsibility – as public officials, civic leaders, academics and business leaders – to ensure that all steps are taken to provide our citizens with a government that operates efficiently and responsibly. Government does not have to be merely subject to change; it can and should be a catalyst for change.
I am eager for us to begin our mission. The Commission will be announced this week and you can expect a meeting to be called within two weeks. Again, I offer you my deep appreciation for serving as a Commission member, and I look forward to working with you in the upcoming weeks.