Governor Cuomo says the government can do more to safeguard against fraud and theft as the state addresses how it procures contracts moving forward.
Under his initiative, state agencies would have to certify there is no collusion, no political interference, disclose any payments and prior relationships when entering contracts.
The same rules would apply to agency officials and legislators if involved.
"We're going to take a hard look at the governor's proposal but we also have a proposal on the table about procurement reform and I'm sure between the two of them, we're going to come up with some good safeguards for the taxpayers but also prevent the problems we've had in Buffalo,” said Sean Ryan, (D) Assembly – Buffalo.
The governor says he and the state comptroller have agreed to a new process allowing the comptroller to pre-audit contracts in excess of $250,000 and send the contracts to the inspector general for an audit so long as it happens within 30 days.
He says it's still important government function in a timely fashion — but Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes wants to know if it's quick enough.
"I was happy to hear they made some sort of agreement. I'm not so sure that a lot of the MWBE businesses that sent me letters on procurement are going to be comfortable with the fact that he says there's going to be an agreement that they turn these contracts around in 30 days. Sometimes a 30-day turnaround is an impact on your business that quite frankly you can't afford, so I think that still bears some looking at,” said Peoples-Stokes.
Finally, Cuomo is calling for a lobbyist code of conduct which he promises to institute in his own office regardless of whether the Legislature institutes it.
It will impose stricter rules both for serving as a lobbyist and disclosure requirements.
"We're looking forward to examining the details of what the governor's proposal is but certainly enhancing ethics laws across the state of New York at every level is something we will raise as a Democratic conference,” said Tim Kennedy, (D) Senate – Buffalo.