The Herald-Sun reports that Orange and Chatham counties are reducing the ranks of magistrates in anticipation of state budget cuts. The story notes that because of this, local police agencies are now coordinating their staffing plans to ensure coverage should any entity need help while an officer is traveling the extra distance to/from a magistrate. What’s more, they’re also going to start using video conferencing for some of the work before magistrates.

In other words, the agencies are being more efficient. Good. It’s amazing what happens when the money flow is turned down. So why haven’t these local agencies been doing this all along? And how many more examples of this kind of over-staffing exists in local and state government?

When the legislature and governor begin looking at ways to make state government more efficient, they should start by reading these recommendations on agency consolidation.