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Sun., Oct. 4
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Ritchie, Griffo appointed to efficiency panel


Republican Sens. Joe Griffo and Patty Ritchie have been appointed to Senate panel that will try to find efficiencies in state government, first reported by Gannett's Albany bureau.
The popular image of state government is that of three bureaucrats in a room putting in a total of 10 hours a week of work making sure small businesses can't get off the ground, and also they're collecting like, huge pensions. So, "government efficiency" is a constant rallying cry.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has put together a Spending and Government Efficiency group. This Senate panel will report to the SAGE group.
I spoke with Mr. Griffo about an hour ago, and he said that as for specifics, he'd look at overlapping responsibilities at the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
"These are the kinds of things we have to look at more intensely and have a more thorough examination," Mr. Griffo said.
One interesting aspect of this whole story is that the panel is made up of Republicans and members of a breakaway faction of Democrats, the Independent Democratic Caucus. None of the 26 loyal Dems, though, got the nod.
I asked Mr. Griffo whether this was truly a bipartisan panel.
"There are Democrats on it," Mr. Griffo said. "They may be a part of the IDC. You see both parties represented there. Regardless of where they caucus, they are members of the Democratic Party."
Yes, the four IDCers did go to a Democratic fundraiser in Schenectady, for example. But staffers for the other 26 are in a constant state of grousing about the four breakaways, especially concerning a report that the IDC members would get a hand up in redistricting from Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. So it's not quite as simple as that.

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