By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Alabama State Senator Paul Sanford (R) from Huntsville announced in a written statement Thursday that the merger of two state agencies shows efficiencies can be gained by consolidating state agencies without jeopardizing essential public services
Senator Sanford said, “Merging these two departments with similar functions was a common sense way to cut costs and operate more efficiently. Governor Bentley deserves a great deal of credit for his commitment to right-sizing state government, as does the new Commissioner of the Department of Labor, Tom Surtrees, who has worked diligently to ensure a smooth transition.”
Sen. Sanford said, “This is an example of what Alabamians can expect to see out of the 2013 legislative session. We’re leaving no stone unturned when it comes to cutting costs and maximizing every tax dollar that’s sent to Montgomery.”
Senator Sanford was the sponsor of the legislation to codify the merger of the Department of Industrial Relations and the Department of Labor. Sen. Sanford said the state of Alabamaa will save roughly $400,000 a year from the merger which took effect on Oct. 1, 2012.
According to the written statement, “The former department of Industrial Relations administered workforce protection programs for employers and workers, including unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation and labor market information. These services are now being offered by the Department of Labor.”
Similarly Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh (R) from Anniston has proposed a much larger consolidation of state law enforcement agencies during the 2013 legislative session. In a written statement this Summer Senator Marsh said, “Making state government more efficient will be a top legislative priority in the 2013 session and we will be pre-filing legislation to ensure this public safety effort is addressed.” Senator Marsh credited Gov. Bentley for his efforts. “We are pleased that the governor has taken the public safety efficiency study produced by our Initiative to Streamline Government and appointed a task force to begin implementation.”
Sen. Marsh said, “Our Public Safety Study Group has worked tirelessly to develop this blueprint, and we look forward to working with the Governor’s task force to bring the plan to fruition. With this plan, I hope the Governor’s task force has a road map to follow on streamlining these departments and agencies.”
Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R) said, “As the branch of government charged with appropriating tax money, it is the Legislature’s duty to ensure that state government is operating as efficiently as possible and that taxpayers are getting their money’s worth. Senator Marsh has taken the leading role in inspecting every nook and cranny within state government to find ways we can run it more efficiently and save taxpayer money. What his team has put together in this blueprint is no small feat. I appreciate the hard work that went into developing this plan and I look forward to working with Senator Marsh and Governor Bentley to see it implemented.”
Marsh’s plan is based on recommendations from a nine member Public Safety Study Group that has been meeting for months. Senator Marsh’s written statement said that, “Conservative cost-savings estimates show a potential savings of $260 million over 10 years by consolidating more than 20 agencies with law enforcement or investigative missions down to seven – compared to an average number of five in other states.”
The report identified 21 separate state departments which have a total of 32 distinct law enforcement and investigative missions. The Republican leadership has promised to cut over a $billion from Alabama state government during Governor Bentley’s first term.