Volunteers needed

THE current mayor of New York City and the governor of New York State - Ed Koch and Mario Cuomo - as often as not find themselves going in separate directions when it comes to matters political. But it is worth noting that both men are now taking a similar tack on a key issue that makes good sense:

Both men are proposing creation of new volunteer corps for teen-agers - modeled somewhat along the lines of the Peace Corps. One would operate at the state level, the other at the city level. The volunteers would receive a modest stipend for performing such tasks as cleaning and repairing parks or escorting the elderly.

There is still a long way to go to get the two volunteer agencies under way. Both proposals are still in the study stage. But that study is important. Volunteer corps should be administered as efficiently as possible. Similar programs in the past have floundered precisely because of financial waste and mismanagement.

Are such volunteer programs needed? Governor Cuomo put the issue in clear terms when he noted that given all the financial constraints on government today , government is just ''not big enough and large enough'' to do all the tasks it should do. And that is why voluntary work becomes so crucial.

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