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October 27, 2010

 

DiNapoli Brings Public Authority Contracts Into The Light of Day


State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli has notified state public authorities that regulations implementing key provisions of the Public Authority Reform Act have been adopted, and his office will begin a systematic review of their contracts, starting with non-competitive contracts.  The Act gives DiNapoli’s office oversight of authority contracts meeting certain criteria, but DiNapoli said he is requiring all authority contracts to be filed with his office.

“Public authorities have been operating in the dark for far too long,” DiNapoli said.  “I have notified 55 state public authorities and authority subsidiaries that we’re going to shed light on their contracts.  Until now, there have been a lot of taxpayer dollars spent without much taxpayer scrutiny.

“I will be posting all major contracts, whether they are subject to my review and approval or not, on my website, OpenBookNY.  This is a big step toward a more open, accountable government,” said DiNapoli, who indicated the enhanced site will be ready by the end of the year.

Highlights of the public authority reform legislation and DiNapoli’s public authority contract review regulations include:

  • DiNapoli is authorized to review and approve contracts valued at $1 million or greater which are:
    • awarded on a non-competitive basis; or
    • paid in whole or in part from state appropriations.
  • Specified exempt contracts not subject to OSC review but must be filed with OSC, include contracts for:
    • commercial paper or bonded debt;
    • certain health centers and mental health projects;
    • emergency purchases and contracts; and
    • energy-related contracts including power for economic development.
  • Contracts not selected for review must also be filed with the Comptroller.

DiNapoli’s office published regulations to implement this new oversight authority two days after the law took effect. Following public comment, DiNapoli filed the regulations with the Department of State.  The regulations take effect today, October 27.   For more information, visit the Comptroller's website on public authorities:  http://osc.state.ny.us/pubauth/index.htm.


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