July 06, 2011
DiNapoli: SUNY $270,000 Procurement Awarded Inappropriately
SUNY Administration Quick Pay Privileges Revoked
State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today ordered payment requests from the State University of New York (SUNY) to undergo additional scrutiny following SUNY’s decision to award a $270,000 consultant contract without competitively bidding the study or justifying a single-source award.
“New York’s procurement laws exist to make sure taxpayers get the most for their money,” DiNapoli said. “SUNY circumvented those laws at the same time it was lobbying for greater procurement flexibility. My office will put SUNY’s future payment requests under an even sharper microscope to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
“This procurement produced a good report that will help SUNY repair some serious problems. But the end product doesn’t justify the means. SUNY went down the wrong road on this procurement.”
DiNapoli’s office reviewed the hiring of the law firm Hogan Lovells US LLP to conduct a study of the functional relationships between the SUNY Research Foundation and the SUNY system and its campuses. The work for this report was performed under a contract to provide legal services related to health care, but DiNapoli’s review found the study was not related to legal services or health care.
The procurement for this work should have been advertised pursuant to State Economic Development Law and, absent justification for a single-source contract, should have been competitively bid under the requirements of State Finance Law. DiNapoli’s office concluded that SUNY Administration circumvented procurement procedures when it inappropriately used an existing contract rather than advertising for the new unrelated service.
As a result, DiNapoli immediately revoked the SUNY Administration’s Quick Pay Voucher privileges for payments processed by the Comptroller’s Office and will subject future SUNY Administration payment requests to heightened scrutiny.
Quick Pay allows an agency that has demonstrated good internal controls and appropriate management to process payment requests to OSC with a reduced level of documentation, saving time and taxpayer dollars. Quick Pay is revoked when an agency abuses the privilege or needs improvements in its internal controls.
A copy of the letter sent to SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher informing her of the Comptroller’s decision can be seen here: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/press/releases/jul11/Grannis_Zimpher070511.pdf