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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Office of General Services
Restacking Occupancy Initiative


Issued: September 9, 2014
Link to full audit report 2013-S-68
Link to 90-day response

Purpose
To determine whether the ReStacking Occupancy Initiative, as executed by the Office of General Services (OGS), has produced savings and to evaluate those savings against program expectations. The audit covered the period April 1, 2011 to June 19, 2014.

Background
One cost-saving initiative recommended by the State’s Savings and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Commission, which was established by the Governor in January 2011 to streamline State government, was targeted at decreasing the amount of leased property occupied by State agencies. The Commission predicted this initiative could save the State more than $21 million, and that further savings could be achieved as leases on remaining excess office space expire. Subsequently, the State’s 2013-2014 Budget included an expectation for $5 million in additional savings, for a total of about $26 million in savings expected by March 31, 2014.

To achieve this cost-savings goal, the Division of Budget (DOB) entered into contracts with a private firm to establish a strategic approach focusing primarily on managing, occupying and procuring agency office space. DOB commissioned OGS to implement this initiative. In 2011, OGS created the NYS Real Estate Center (Center) to oversee all real estate operations and consolidate the use of existing space throughout the current portfolio of State-owned and leased space. The first phase of this process created large sections of vacant space that in turn was used to house employees currently in leased space. This method is referred to as the ReStacking Occupancy Initiative.

Key Findings

  • OGS’ implementation of the ReStacking initiative was successful in achieving - and in fact exceeding – the cost savings expectations established by the SAGE commission and DOB. OGS has achieved about $51 million in lease costs savings which, after adjusting for move costs that total about $18 million, resulted in about $33 million in net savings.
  • OGS calculated cost savings separately from expenses and only accumulated costs on an agency by agency basis, not at a statewide level. Public disclosure and transparency would be enhance if OGS were to periodically track and report on the net results of the program.

Key Recommendation

  • Develop a method for regularly monitoring and updating actual savings and expenses related to agency moves on a statewide basis.

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest

Office of General Services: Selected Employee Travel Expenses (2012-S-92)
Office of General Services: Disposal of Electronic Devices (2012-S-4)


State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: John Buyce
Phone: (518) 474-3271; Email: StateGovernmentAccountability@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236