New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, Senator Jeremy A. Cooney, and Assemblymember Michaelle C. Solages today urged Governor Kathy Hochul to sign legislation that passed both houses at the end of session enhancing transparency and accountability for state contracts awarded during a state of emergency, such as those that were not made transparent to the public during the COVID pandemic, as well as those contracts that are otherwise exempted from the Comptroller’s review.
Legislation introduced at the request of DiNapoli would require a state entity to publicly post contracts that have been exempted from State Comptroller review by executive order or legislative action (S.6941 Cooney/A.7404 Solages). This bill would increase transparency for those contracts, which was lacking during the COVID emergency period, by giving the public and the press the ability to not only examine the contracts themselves but also easily access related information.
State Comptroller DiNapoli said “The COVID crisis taught us many valuable lessons, including the need for greater visibility of those contracts that are executed without the independent review of my office. I want to thank Senator Cooney and Assemblymember Solages for fighting hard for this legislation, and I urge the Governor to sign it and enhance public trust in state contracting during emergency situations and when the important oversight of my office is bypassed.”
A second bill introduced at the request of DiNapoli, which passed in the Senate (S.6942 Cooney/A.7405 McDonald), would require state agencies and public authorities to provide bidders and interested parties with the ability to protest a contract award at the agency level. DiNapoli will continue working with the Legislature to enact this proposal.
DiNapoli’s office is responsible for reviewing most state agency contracts, generally those where the contract value exceeds $50,000, and may also review state public authority contracts valued at more than $1 million if they are either awarded noncompetitively or paid from state appropriations. His office ensures the process is fair, prices are reasonable, and state laws are followed.
Senator Cooney said “As Chair of the Senate Committee on Procurement and Contracts, I hold transparency and accountability as values we cannot compromise on during the state’s contracting process. While certain emergency situations may require quick action, I firmly believe that should not come at the expense of public information. I was proud to carry legislation in the Senate to require posting of contracts during states of emergency and thank State Comptroller DiNapoli for his partnership with this legislation. I stand with State Comptroller DiNapoli and Assemblymember Solages in urging the Governor to sign this vital piece of legislation.”
Assemblymember Solages said “The pursuit of transparency and accountability in government spending is vital to our mission to earn the trust of taxpayers. By advocating for the public disclosure of emergency state contracts and providing clarity on exemptions from comptroller approval, this legislation strengthens the bond between citizens and their government. I commend State Comptroller DiNapoli for his relentless commitment to fostering transparency and accountability in New York State, ensuring that taxpayer money is spent wisely and with utmost responsibility."
S.6941 – Requires the public posting of certain contracts