By Karen DeWitt, New York State Public Radio Capital Bureau Chief
Governor Andrew Cuomo says he’s trying to make government more efficient by taking pre-audit oversight powers away from the State’s Comptroller in his state budget proposal.
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli criticized Cuomo’s proposal, saying the pre-audits have saved millions of dollars by flagging potential problems in the contracts. Cuomo says he’s not taking away the comptroller’s authority but trying to speed up an inefficient procurement process. The governor suggests some of the pre audits significantly delay the contract process.
“Let’s slow down every contract for three months,” Cuomo said. “And what is the benefit, how many times do you actually find something? All of these are a balance.”
Cuomo says the Comptroller and others are simply resisting reform of what he says is a “historically dysfunctional government”.
“If you try to streamline contracting there’s going to be opposition,” said Cuomo. “Any change brings opposition.”
Office of General Services commissioner RoAnn DeStito says the proposed change only effects a small number of contracts, and she says the comptroller can always stop payment if any red flags are raised later.
Cuomo says just because he and the Comptroller disagree on the issue doesn’t mean they don’t have a good relationship, and he says the thinks DiNapoli is a “good comptroller”. Cuomo says he last spoke to DiNapoli in early January, at his State of the State speech.
Comptroller DiNapoli, in a statement, offered a response.
“Most contracts are approved within 13 days, and one-third are approved within five days. All levels of government need checks and balances to ensure that errors have not occurred and that the process was done in a fair and open way,” the Comptroller said. “Why change something that works?