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Latest Corruption Scandal Spurs More Calls for Reform

Watchdogs want hearings into allegations of the rigging of more than $1 billion in state contracts. (wadester16/Flickr)
Watchdogs want hearings into allegations of the rigging of more than $1 billion in state contracts. (wadester16/Flickr)
October 13, 2016

ALBANY, N.Y. – Watchdog groups are in Albany today calling on legislative leaders to hold hearings on allegations of corruption in state contracts, and to enact reforms.

The recent indictment of former aides to Gov. Andrew Cuomo on federal charges has dragged corruption in Albany back into the headlines.

Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union of New York City, says his group has a list of actions the Legislature could take to increase transparency and accountability in state government.

"These reforms are aimed at trying to get the money out of our politics, to bring fairness and a competitiveness to the way in which state contracts are awarded, so that New Yorkers can feel that their taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely and for the intended purpose," he states.

Those reforms include competitive and transparent contracting for the awarding of all state funds and giving the State Comptroller the power to review and approve all contracts.

Dadey also wants the state to give the public access to a list of all state contracts.

"We want the governor and others to create this database of deals that will allow the public to see the total value of all forms of subsidies awarded to a business,” he explains. “This is something that's been done in six states throughout the country and we believe that New York state should do it."

The most recent allegations of corruption involve the awarding of more than $1 billion in state funds.

Last May, both the former Speaker of the Assembly and the former Senate Majority Leader were sentenced to prison on corruption charges.

Dadey maintains the ongoing stream of scandals calls for a change in priorities.

"We need to shift the focus of the government from penalizing and punishing those convicted of corruption and misconduct to actually trying to prevent the misconduct or corruption from happening," he stresses.

The watchdog groups are presenting their recommendations for reform at a news conference in Albany today.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY