Butkin Proclaims Cost-Saving Reforms, Investment Earnings Improvements

THE JOURNAL RECORD, October 20, 1999 | Go to article overview

Butkin Proclaims Cost-Saving Reforms, Investment Earnings Improvements


State Treasurer Robert Butkin has announced new cost-saving reforms and investment earnings improvements totaling more than $250,000.

The treasurer said a new custody bank contract has been negotiated with The Northern Trust that reduces fees 60 percent, from $52,500 to $20,000 per year.

Under Oklahoma law, custody-bank contracts are negotiated after an open bidding period for one year at a time. The state, at its sole option, has two opportunities for one-year renewal on the same terms.

Once awarded such a contract, the selected bank retains custody of securities in the treasurer's investment portfolio and provides detailed accounting and performance information about the state's investment.

Butkin negotiated his first custodial services contract with State Street Bank of Boston in 1995, which cut in half the cost of a contract negotiated prior to his administration. Since taking office, he has negotiated an 80 percent decrease in custodial bank fees, which translates into an annual savings of $80,000 to taxpayers.

The treasurer also announced that money market funds have been added as a short-term investment option. He said this move increased investment earnings $38,000 in the most recent quarter and it projected to increase earnings $152,000 annually.

He also said that the agency is upgrading its check printing system, using several smaller printers instead of a single large machine.

"This will increase efficiency tremendously and save the taxpayers $43,000 per year on operating costs," Butkin said. "It's one small step at a time. But those small steps for our office eventually become giant leaps for the taxpayers in substantial savings and earnings increases."

Rewarding ideas

State employees whose ideas for cost savings, increasing revenues or quality service or recovering funds will receive awards during Quality Oklahoma Team Day 1999 on Thursday.

This year, 47 teams representing 16 state agencies, plus other programs involving joint ventures between 57 agencies and private- sector or nonprofit organizations, have developed ideas resulting in almost $164 million in savings or additional state revenue. Last year the efforts of 53 teams resulted in more than $2.2 million.

This year's numbers skew upward dramatically due in large part to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority's Medicaid expansion and outreach initiatives, partnered with six other agencies, which is attributed with a revenue savings of $147.97 million in federal matching funds.

Other participating agencies generated more than $15 million for state government.

The Department of Vocational-Technical Education and Department of Civil Emergency Management will display "safe room" models. The Bill Johnson Correctional Center and the city of Alva developed an innovative process that recycled more than 35 tons of cardboard boxes and donated the proceeds to youth sports in that community.

Governor's Commendation Awards will be presented at 1 p.m. in the Senate Chamber, although displays of the winning ideas will be open to viewing on the first and second floors of the State Capitol beginning at 10 a.m.

Setting an example, part II

From the "How Effective Is Your Letterhead?" Department: State District Judge Niles Jackson includes all methods for contacting him at the top of his correspondence: mail, e-mail, telephone and fax. "These are added as a convenience to attorneys who want to leave a long message but find leaving telephone messages cumbersome," he wrote in a letter to The Journal Record. …

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