State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office reviewed 2,193 contracts valued at $9.8 billion and approved more than 2.3 million payments worth $11 billion in December, he announced in his monthly report on state contract and payment actions.
His office rejected 205 contract transactions worth $358 million because they lacked the required verifications and 1,390 payments valued at $1.9 million due to fraud, waste and other improprieties.
The state comptroller is New York’s chief financial officer, and his office is charged with reviewing contracts for all state agencies and some for state public authorities, as well as auditing all state payments. The independent review ensures that the costs are reasonable, the playing field is level and taxpayers get the best value for their money, according to DiNapoli’s office. The average contract review time is 11 to 13 days.
These are major contracts the state comptroller approved in December:
— $8.3 billion Empire Plan contract to provide prescription benefits to state and local government employees with CVS Caremark through 2018.
— $1.8 million for a contract with Kone Inc. to replace escalators in the state Capitol.
— $180 million for an emergency contract with ValueOptions to provide mental health and substance abuse services under the Empire, Excelsior and Student Health Plans.
— $21.5 million for a public-private partnership contract with Social Finance Inc. to reduce recidivism in the prison system.
— $20.3 million in contracts for Amtrak intercity passenger rail services. The state Department of Transportation is required to assume responsibility for certain of these routes.
Major payments approved last month include:
— $120 million in federal HEAP benefits to assist 245,000 low-income New Yorkers with home heating or heat-related emergencies.
— $2.6 million for 44,000 Department of Motor Vehicle refunds, primarily for returned license plates.
— Expedited $70 million in Superstorm Sandy disaster relief payments to homeowners with damages not covered by insurance.
The monthly contract report builds on the office’s daily accounting of state payments that were recently added to the Open Book New York website. A report DiNapoli released earlier this month showed that the independent review is one of the most efficient ways to deter fraud waste and abuse.