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Comptroller Maragos finds prior administration rushed to approve $68.3 million in contracts before leaving office    

 

Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos found the prior administration rushed to authorize $68.3 million in contracts in December of 2009, including $11.7 million during the last 7 days.  These amounts are over twice the contract amounts approved compared to similar periods during the prior 2 years (see chart below). This is especially troubling as the office of the prior Comptroller was verbally requested to refrain from approving new contracts during the transition period.

"We are reviewing all of these contracts to ensure that taxpayer money is being well spent,” Comptroller Maragos said. “Unnecessary or patronage contracts will be cancelled or renegotiated. Some contracts are especially disconcerting.”

One lease was approved on December 24, 2009 to house a police precinct in Baldwin. Under the lease, the County agreed to expend approximately $9.3 million in construction costs. A number of contracts totaling millions from the social services departments provide for service to the County at costs well above retail or market costs. Another last minute contract was a change order authorized by the Department of Public Works on December 23 for $1.23 million, or a 34% overrun, in violation of County rules which require prior approval on change orders over 10%.

"The Comptroller’s Office finds objectionable the haste to spend money when the County is running large deficits and taxpayers are unable to afford their mortgages and their high property taxes,” Comptroller Maragos added. “After the detailed review of these year end contracts we will proceed to review all other contracts to verify that they are necessary and that the County is receiving the value intended.”

CONTRACTS PROCESSED DEC 1 - DEC 31

($'s in millions)

 

2009

2008

2007

Month of December

68.3

31.5

22.2

Last week in December

11.7

1.3

3.9