January 23, 2014
DiNapoli Announces State Contract & Payment Actions for December
State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced today his office reviewed 2,193 contracts valued at $9.8 billion and approved more than 2.3 million payments worth $11 billion in December 2013. His office rejected 205 contract transactions valued at $358 million and 1,390 payments valued at $1.9 million due to fraud, waste and other improprieties.
As the state’s chief financial officer, DiNapoli’s office reviews contracts for all state agencies, some contracts for state public authorities, and, in addition, audits all state payments. This independent review ensures that costs are reasonable, the playing field is level and taxpayers get the best value for their money. The Comptroller’s office averages 11 to 13 days for contract reviews.
The Comptroller recently began releasing a monthly contract report which provides added transparency and current information about the number and types of contracts entered into by the state. This builds on the office’s daily accounting of state payments that were recently added to Open Book New York.
Earlier this month, DiNapoli released a report which reviewed the state Comptroller’s contract oversight role and detailed his office’s performance for the last three calendar years. The Comptroller’s report, “State Contracts by the Numbers: Longstanding Contract Oversight Authority Serves Taxpayers,” showed that his office’s independent review is one of the most efficient ways to deter fraud, waste and abuse. The federal government, New Jersey and Florida have recognized the value of pre-approval contract reviews and are looking to enhance this kind of oversight.
The contract and spending highlights for December 2013 include:
Major Contract Approvals
Office of General Services—State Capitol Escalator Replacements
Approved a $1.8 million contract with Kone Inc. to replace the escalators in the state Capitol.
Department of Civil Service—Health Care Contracts
Approved an $8.3 billion Empire Plan contract to provide prescription benefits to state and local government employees with CVS Caremark through 2018.
Approved a $180 million emergency contract with ValueOptions to provide mental health and substance abuse services under the Empire, Excelsior and Student Health plans.
Long Island Power Authority—Energy Efficiency
Approved a $1.2 million contract with Applied Energy Group to support LIPA’s Edge Program that allows LIPA to maximize the operation of its electric system by reducing customer consumption at peak times.
Department of Labor—Pay for Success Program
Approved a $21.5 million public private partnership contract with Social Finance Inc. to reduce correctional recidivism.
Department of Transportation— Intercity Rail Contracts
Approved $20.3 million in contracts for Amtrak intercity passenger rail services. Under federal changes, DOT is required to assume financial responsibility for certain intercity passenger routes.
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services—Home Repair
Approved a $1.3 million grant for the village of Greene and $1 million grant for the town of Babylon to elevate homes in flood-prone areas damaged by Hurricane Irene/Tropical Storm Lee.
Major Payments Approved
Approved $120 million in federal HEAP benefits to assist 245,000 low-income New Yorkers with home heating or heat-related emergencies.
Approved $2.6 million for 44,000 Department of Motor Vehicle refunds, primarily for returned license plates.
Approved $352,000 in Tribal-State Compact payments to St. Lawrence County.
Expedited $70 million in Superstorm Sandy disaster relief payments to homeowners with damages not covered by insurance.
Approved $15 million for SUNY Nanotech related to the acquisition of IBM software, hardware and related services.
Contract and Payment Rejections
The Comptroller’s office rejected 205 contract transactions valued at $358 million because they lacked the required verifications and rejected 1,390 payments valued at $1.9 million due to fraud, waste and other improprieties.
Contract and Expenditure Oversight
DiNapoli is providing monthly highlights of his contract and expenditure review activities as part of his priority for openness and transparency. Collectively, these annual, monthly and daily activity accounts provide important details about how taxpayer dollars are spent, which is a fundamental component of OSC’s oversight in protecting the public's money.
Open Book New York
For access to billions of dollars in state and local government spending and more than 50,000 state contracts, visit http://www.openbooknewyork.com/. The easy-to-use website was created by DiNapoli to promote openness in government and provide taxpayers with better access to the financial workings of government.https://www.osc.state.ny.us/press/releases/jan14/012314a.htm