Nelson Rockefeller with a group of OGS women in the 1960s.

The Birth of OGS

Basic to the plan was an eye to the future when OGS began operations in a small office in the Capitol on October 1, 1960.

The Birth of OGS
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Basic to the plan was an eye to the future when OGS began operations in a small office in the Capitol on October 1, 1960.
Old version of the OGS logo from the 1960s.

In 1959, Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller convened a commission to study and improve the effectiveness of state government. In its report, the commission recommended creating a new state agency, the Office of General Services, to provide essential "housekeeping" services, like centralized purchasing, management of office space and state properties, maintenance of state buildings, and the distribution of supplies and other materials. OGS would not only bring together a number of related functions, but also sharpen the state's procedures and processes.

Following approval by the State Legislature, OGS began operations on October 1, 1960, under the leadership of its first commissioner, General C.V.R. Schuyler. Over 60 years, the agency that began with one man in a small office in the State Capitol has grown into a substantial and diverse organization with thousands of employees in more than 25 locations statewide.

“You are the front-line troops in the endless struggle to promote economy and efficiency in government regardless of ever-increasing demands for service and the ever-increasing complexity of modern life...I look to you with confidence for accomplishment of your present tasks and meeting our future challenges.”

Governor Rockefeller to OGS employees, November 1965

 

OGS has evolved from a group known for its agency-related assistance to a powerhouse that provides unparalleled support and service. Time and again, OGS employees show up when New York needs them most. From springing into action to relocate employees and respond to the national emergency during the days following the September 11 attacks, to leading communications and the procurement of goods and services needed for the state to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, OGS provides critical support to facilitate progress.

While OGS helps state agencies fulfill their own missions and goals, it also provides a broad spectrum of services to local governments, the business community, and other partners. Under the administration of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, OGS has expanded its crucial role in making the state more productive, prosperous, and responsive. This function-first agency is now a modernized organization that has a more direct impact on New Yorkers than ever before.

While much has changed in 60 years, one thing has not: the pride OGS employees take in being part of an agency that has an immeasurable impact on state government and on New Yorkers. We hope you enjoy this look-back at our agency and celebrate all we have accomplished together, past and present.

 

Corning Tower displays "NY Tough" during COVID-19 pandemic, 2020.