Assemblyman Norris says state needs reform in awarding contracts

Posted 21 January 2019 at 7:04 pm

Press Release, Assemblyman Michael Norris

As the sponsor of the State Contracts Sunlight Act, one of the first procurement reform bills in Albany, Assemblyman Mike Norris (R,I,C,Ref-Lockport) said that with the governor’s now apparent support for reforming the process, there is hope that substantial reforms will happen this year to protect any taxpayer-funded investment made, through the budget or other legislation, in economic development.

“Since I first took office, I have been fighting for this necessary procurement reform,” said Norris. “Corruption contained in the Buffalo Billion scandal was completely unacceptable, but the most important thing going forward is to allow for a more open and transparent process and stopping any further fraud and abuse.  If the governor is finally ready to get on board to enact substantial reforms, I will do everything I can to support that effort because the people of our state work too hard and are taxed too much to see their money wasted on projects and potential jobs that never materialize.”

Norris’ State Contract Sunlight Act would require the state comptroller and attorney general, who oversee and approve any state contracts, to accept public comment before authorizing them and compile a public, searchable database of all contracts so we know where our hardworking taxpayer dollars are being spent and any concerns from the public can be addressed before enactment.

Norris is also a proud sponsor of the Public Officers Accountability Act, which would require the full disclosure of all elected official outside income, place term limits on legislative leaders, and create a more transparent legislative process.

In the presentation of his 2019 Executive Budget, Cuomo outlined his plan to address these procurement matters. His plan includes measures that Norris has been advocating for since he took office, including directing Empire State Development to create its own publicly accessible online database of projects getting state benefits and returning certain powers to the comptroller including the authority to pre-audit any SUNY, CUNY and Office of General Services contracts worth more than $250,000.

Procurement reform is critical to assure that our taxpayers dollars are being spent in an open transparent manner, free from any political conflicts and ensuring that the number of promised jobs being created are in fact established and retained.  I am pleased to support these first steps by the Governor to promote this objective, and encourage my colleagues in the State Legislature to consider a complete database of all agency contracts and other reforms as mentioned above, in this legislative session and budget negotiations.

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