ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — On Monday, Governor Hochul announced she will not be extending her COVID emergency powers – the same order that suspended the Comptroller’s office from reviewing COVID contracts. Capitol Correspondent Amal Tlaige spoke with an expert who explained why its crucial the Comptrollers office gets back to being the fiscal watchdog for New York.
Normally contracts have to be competitively bid on. When COVID hit, both former Governor Cuomo and Governor Hochul enacted emergency powers which allowed them to bypass the bidding process and get the supplies needed to combat COVID as soon as possible.
“The order not being renewed means that the comptroller can now review those contracts and make sure that the taxpayers are getting the best deal for what we need to do to fight COVID,” said Rachael Fauss, Senior Policy Advisor for Reinvent Albany. Fauss says the emergency powers suspended only touch on COVID and there are still other bids and contracts the Comptroller’s office is suspended from reviewing, “The gun violence emergency order that is also in effect also suspends the Comptroller procurement. There’s a bill that we would like the Governor to sign that would restore the Comptroller’s powers over SUNY contracts for example,” said Fauss.
The Comptroller’s office also ensures there’s no concerns of corruption or pay to play happening within those contracts, “We don’t want to see a company being moved to the front of the line to get a contract where maybe they gave contributions to the Governor for the campaign. We want to see a fair contract for all contracts in terms of bidding,” said Fauss.
In a statement the Comptrollers office said: “The decision to continue the executive order lies with the Executive and the Legislature. We stand ready to resume our oversight role.”