NEWS Office of the Governor State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, State House, Providence, RI 02903 www.governor.ri.gov
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Jeff Neal Thursday, May 30, 2006 222-8290
GOVERNOR’S FISCAL FITNESS TEAM SHARES COST-SAVING STRATEGIES WITH MUNICIPAL OFFICIALS
On Friday, May 19, 2006, several administration officials in charge of overseeing Governor Donald L. Carcieri’s Fiscal Fitness Program and representatives of State Purchasing and Human Resources met with city and town purchasing officials from around the state to share strategies aimed at saving taxpayer money. The goal of the meeting was to open up the lines of communication between State and local officials and create an ongoing dialogue.
Fiscal Fitness Program Director Dan Majcher, Department of Administration (DOA) Executive Director Brian Stern, and Executive Director Stephen Johnston gave a presentation at the monthly meeting of the Association of Municipal Purchasing Agents. DOA Executive Director Stern, who is the chief purchasing agent for the state, spoke about several Fiscal Fitness purchasing initiatives underway that may interest the local communities. Executive Director Johnston discussed the State’s health care contract as an opportunity for savings at the local level. Also participating in the briefing were Lorraine Hynes, Assistant Director of Purchasing, and Gerry Bedrick, a member of the Fiscal Fitness team.
“We want to share successful strategies with city and town governments so they can be more effective and cost-efficient for their local taxpayers,” Stern said. “From records maintenance to more efficient purchasing strategies, there are a number of ways that cities and towns can save money.” At the same time, according to Mr. Stern, the State wants to hear comments from the cities and towns, especially on how the State can do a better job providing opportunities to the local communities. “In the past there has been very little or no dialogue between city and town governments in the area of purchasing. This is the first step of opening the lines of communication.”
Fran Dibiasio, the purchasing agent in Johnston and President of the Municipal Purchasing Agents Association, felt that this dialogue was well overdue and echoed Executive Director Stern’s comments, “This meeting was extremely helpful to the cities and towns, and was an important first step to opening up the door for more communication between the cities and towns.” Ms. Dibiasio continued, “Town and city governments have limited resources and anything the State can do to support us in the area of purchasing is beneficial. The bottom-line is saving taxpayer dollars, and communication between State purchasing and municipal purchasing agents will make this happen.”
The Fiscal Fitness Program grew out of Governor Carcieri’s promise to do a “Big Audit” of state government and is designed to eliminate government waste and redundancies, while improving the delivery of state services. Fiscal Fitness programs currently underway are projected to save state taxpayers $140 million by June 30th of this year. Over $270 million could be saved by the end of June, 2007.
“Fiscal Fitness has been a terrific success for Rhode Island taxpayers,” Governor Carcieri said. “We have made tremendous progress in our efforts to improve government efficiency and performance, while also making state government more customer-friendly. After three years, we believe it is time to start sharing some of our cost-saving strategies with city and town officials, so they can begin to achieve the same type of savings for their local taxpayers.”
More information can be found on the Fiscal Fitness website, at www.fiscalfitness.ri.gov.