March 28, 2012
Mangano Announces $3 Million in Cost-Cutting
Initiatives and the Prevention of $19 Million in Waste
Mineola, NY – Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano today announced that in further efforts to protect taxpayers, under his direction, the Department of Social Services (DSS) has implemented a wide range of innovative and efficiency driven cost-savings initiatives. This includes program realignments, the restructuring of contracts and submitting award winning grant applications that resulted in over $2.7 million in savings to taxpayers and $18.8 million in cost avoidance savings. The department recently won a $100,000 competitive grant from New York State to fight welfare waste, fraud and abuse.
County Executive Mangano stated, “My administration is committed protecting taxpayer dollars and I am pleased to see our efforts to help contain the cost of government come to fruition.”
The initiatives include the following:
Operations – Emergency
Housing for the Homeless
Policy and operational modifications resulted in programmatic
savings exceeding $2 million compared to the corresponding
period in 2010 which included the following:
Operations – Employment
- In 2011 DSS working in partnership with the Nassau
County Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD) curtailed
the use of motels for emergency housing in favor of utilizing community
based emergency shelters. Shelter operators provide a more supportive
and supervised environment which assist the homeless to locate permanent
housing. The initiative reduced motel expenses by 14% in 2011.
TO DATE: $750,000
utilizing motels for emergency housing DSS shifted from paying the market rate
for motels to a fixed rate payment structure. In 2011 this change saved the
county over 20% in emergency housing expenditures.
SAVINGS TO DATE: $1,100,000
- Based on DSS and OHCD requirements, the Nassau County
Office of Information Technology (NCIT) created a computer software program
for placing homeless clients in emergency shelters. By leveraging the technology
solution shelter costs decreased even though shelter placements increased 4%
in 2011 over 2010.
SAVINGS TO DATE: $450,000
- In 2011 DSS revised moving and storage procurement policies for those clients eligible to receive the benefit. Clients are now required to obtain three bids prior to DSS approving the subsidy. Based on using the most cost efficient proposal, moving and storage expenses have been reduced by 20%
SAVINGS TO DATE: $190,000
- DSS spends over $2 million annually on cash security
deposits to assist DSS clients in securing permanent housing. On January 1,
2012 DSS converted from paying cash for housing security deposits to an escrow
security deposit procedure. The County reduced the security deposit expense
by 73% during the first two months of implementation.
SAVINGS TO DATE: $240,000
(with an estimated projected annual savings of $1.4 million)
- In 2011 DSS reviewed and revised all contracted services including placing a cap on contract administrative fees. As a result in 2011 over 93 cents out of every contract dollar was judiciously spent on providing direct services to DSS clients.
To assist DSS clients in becoming self-sufficient the
department launched the following initiatives:
DSS Operations – Day Care
- Reorganized the Employment unit
starting with the hiring of an experienced Employment
Director in late 2010.
- Initiating semi-annual Job Fairs.
In 2011 the Employment unit, in collaboration with the
Nassau County Coordinating Agency of Spanish Americans
(CASA) and Office of Minority Affairs, organized two
job fairs with over 100 hiring firms and attended by
over 5,000 residents. Two additional Job Fairs are planned
- In 2011 the number of Public Assistance
cases closed due to excess income (attributed to clients
being employed) increased 51% over 2010 levels saving
New York State and the Federal government close to $12
million in cost avoidance.
- Subsidized Employment. Since
2009, DSS realized $1.8 million in competitive state
funded grants to provide subsidized employment opportunities
for unemployed DSS clients. To enhance the program the
Employment unit developed relationships with private
employers who continuously seek workers with various
skill-sets. These employers include; include North Shore – LIJ
Health System, GEICO and Healthplex.
COST AVOIDANCE SAVINGS TO DATE: $12 million
- In 2011 the Employment unit
introduced performance based contracts with our strategic
partners. Performance based contracts pay the contractor
for reaching certain milestones such as when a DSS
client gains employment. If the contractor does not
meet the milestone, they don’t
get paid which keeps the focus on achieving goals that
benefit taxpayers and DSS clients by assisting them towards
self-sufficiency. The unit is now working collaboratively
with counterparts in Suffolk and Westchester counties
to assist them in developing similar programs.
2011 DSS restructured the subsidized Day Care program
to better serve the more than 5,000 children attending day care programs
while reducing costs and eliminating wasteful and fraudulent use of
services meant for Nassau’s
working families. One initiative included mandating applicants to submit a notarized
form attesting to off-the-books employment.
COST AVOIDANCE SAVINGS TO DATE: $2.2
DSS Operations – WELFARE
WASTE, FRAUD AND ABUSE The department’s team of investigators
in conjunction with program staff, have uncovered a total
of $4.6 million in cost avoidance savings in 2011. These
investigative initiatives are just the latest in a multi-year
effort that has saved county residents millions in overpayments
and unnecessary expenses.
COST AVOIDANCE SAVINGS TO DATE: $4.6 MILLION
“Since taking office in January 2010 it has been my priority to reduce costs and improve efficiencies throughout county government and save taxpayer dollars,” stated
County Executive Mangano.
“I also want to give the most
special acknowledgment to each and every employee of
the Department of Social Services, without whom these
accomplishments would never have been realized. They
are a credit to themselves and the County, and they
prove by their hard work and example that government
can reorganize, cut costs, implement quality initiatives
and at the same time continue to deliver the vital
services that our citizens need and require.”