Asks to speak before lawmakers on ‘Non-Partisan Measures to Restore Public Trust in Nassau County Government’
MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas testified before the Nassau County Legislature today on her recommendations on how to reform the County’s contract procurement processes, which she has called a “recipe for corruption” based on weak controls, antiquated technology and a documented history of confirmed or suspected abuse.
“My office reviewed the County’s contract procurement process and made numerous reform recommendations that have been embraced by an independent panel of experts as well as the public,” DA Singas said. “Yet to this day, the Legislature has not held a single hearing, nor has it enacted some of the most important reforms, including an independent Inspector General and the technological platform to allow for a thorough vetting of vendors and contracts.”
When the federal investigation of the Nassau County contract involving then-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos first became known in April 2015, the Nassau DA’s Office, then under Acting DA Singas’ leadership, commenced a comprehensive review of Nassau County’s contract procurement process. In July 2015, Singas issued a report that pulled the curtain back on weaknesses in the process, and made numerous reform recommendations, including the appointment of an expert panel to also make recommendations, the use of an independent Inspector General for contracts, significantly improved disclosure requirements, and the replacement of paper-only records with electronic databases in order to facilitate the tracking and analysis of vendor and contract information.
The County Executive’s Office did appoint a panel of experts, which mirrored many of DA Singas’ recommendations, and some reforms requiring increased disclosure were adopted by the County Executive and Legislature. To this day, however, the Legislature has yet to hold a public hearing on this matter, nor has the County allowed for an independent Inspector General or implemented electronic databases to replace the archaic paper-based filing system currently used to keep vendor and contract information.
Criminal investigations by the DA’s Office stemming from its initial contract process review are active and ongoing.
Last week, DA Singas requested to be heard before the Legislature on this topic today. Her full written testimony as submitted is linked here.