Frustrated with the lack of real legislative priority on cutting wasteful spending during a special session budgeting crisis, Rep. Rick West(R-Heavener) held an interim study at the state capitol, today. His crusade to attack govt. waste began with exposing the absurd regulations which come from within the capitol building, itself.
West will be continuing this process and presenting legislation as his research warrants statutory reforms.
Here's his press release from today's testimony, at the capitol. Rep West bills himself as a fiscal conservative and his conservative index score supports that claim.
Oklahomans with insight to a particular wasteful policy or practice are encouraged to contact the representative's office. (405) 557-7413
“OMES is a good partner,” said Cathy Menefee, Chief Financial Officer for the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department. “But there is still work to be done.”
Menefee expressed frustration with mandatory contracts, but conceded there were ways around the traditional purchasing agreement. Ultimately, Menefee said obtaining exceptions for a multimillion state agency with dozens of locations across Oklahoma is “an onerous process.”
“Running government efficiently means reducing the administrative overhead. Decreased appropriations have led to lower staffing levels and we have less time to carry this administrative burden,” Menefee said. “We have to work to simplify the rules.”
OMES rebutted, saying the agency has not received any vendor complaints this year. State Central Purchasing Director Ferris Barger said agencies were losing sight of the smaller costs associated with procurement. He said there were simple steps state agencies could take to receive purchasing exceptions.
“If you’ve got to jump through fire and monkey hoops that you’ve created, then that’s what you’ve done,” Barger said.
West said agencies in his House district are forced to purchase standard items outside of LeFlore County. At least one contract requires purchases be made in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
West said rooting out government inefficiency is critical, especially when the state is trying to fill a substantial budget hole. Reforming central purchasing is a simple way the Legislature could redistribute control to local agencies and potentially save the state millions of dollars, he said.
“Sometimes we get so caught up in Oklahoma City that we lose sight of the big picture,” said West, R-Heavener. “Well, trimming fat so agencies can operate more fully within their means should always be the big picture.”
Contact: State Rep. Rick West
Office: (405) 557-7413