Friday, February 11, 2011

Costello Declines State Vehicle, Saves Dollars

Labor Commissioner Mark Costello said today he's saving tax dollars, declining to accept a state vehicle and mileage reimbursement for the use of his own vehicle.

Given the tight budget forecast for the future, Costello said he's taken a number of steps to save over $126,000 in existing tax dollars.

Costello has elected not to accept a state vehicle. He has taken steps to eliminate an existing wage and hour case back log of up to twelve months and has ordered the doubling of dockets to meet a ninety day standard.

Technology changes have also taken place with a user friendly revamped web site and the adoption of cutting edge Tag technology that directs a scanned barcode to the Department of Labor web site.

Lastly, Costello is reallocating existing resources to develop a Public Sector Safety Pays program to reduce local government work place injuries.

Among other cost-saving measures:
· Elected not to use state agency vehicle ($6,036) and not to be reimbursed for mileage.
· Returned computer equipment (ordered by previous administration) resulting in a savings of $110,347.83. Cost of returning equipment was approximately $2,200.00.
· Cut travel expenses by not attending the Interstate Labor Standards Association Annual and Executive Conference. Savings of $4,141.20.
· Returned state agency car not in use for a cost savings of $4,680 a year.
· Reviewed all requests for renewals of subscriptions, memberships, or expenditures resulted in savings of more than $1,000.
· Doubled the number of Administrative Law Judges and cut hourly rate of ALJ from $75 an hour to $25 (saving $2,500). Reduced Wage and Hour Dockets in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa eliminating the 9 to 12 month backlog of cases, setting a standard of 90 days for an administrative hearing.
· Met with State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones to request a turnover audit of the Department of Labor.
· Developed and implemented a written procedure for financial processes, which include accepted auditing standards.
· Established purchasing controls to eliminate duplication among department purchasing. Updated daily procedure for deposits.
· Launched new and user friendly website. Taking the website from side navigation to top navigation and from 12 tabs to 6 tabs.
· Implemented new technology – TAGS (mobile bar code) created barcode, when scanned will take the user directly to the ODOL website. First state agency to utilize this technology at no cost to the taxpayer.
· Three internal units are developing a Public Sector Safety Pays program from existing resources that will provide cost savings to local governments by reducing workplace injuries.
· Created DOL Facebook fan page to communicate with the taxpayers of Oklahoma.

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