Nassau County legislators Monday approved the first set of contracts that required vendors to disclose their use of lobbyists, though none of the 30 agreements -- totaling $36 million -- claimed use of them.
The county legislature's Republican-led Rules Committee, largely on 4-3 party line votes, approved pacts ranging from $30,000 to audit computer software to a two-year, $22 million renewal for the company that provides inmate medical care.
Each contract had a form attached to report if the company receiving the work used anyone to lobby on its behalf and, if so, what that person did. But those disclosure forms largely answered lobbying questions with a simple "no."StoryMangano: Contracts must disclose lobbyistsColumnJanison: Feds' Skelos charges outline multi-sided scandalSee alsoRead the complaint vs. Skelos
The disclosures were mandated last month by an executive order issued by Republican County Executive Edward Mangano in reaction to corruption charges against state Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) and his son, Adam.
Prosecutors allege that the men influenced the awarding of a $12 million county storm water treatment contract to a company that employed Adam Skelos as a consultant. Lawmakers who approved the contract in 2013 said they were not aware that Adam Skelos had lobbied county officials. Both men said they are innocent.
The committee also passed a bill Monday implementing a separate section of Mangano's order, which creates a database of lobbyists operating in the county. The bill must still clear the full legislature.
Legis. Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) said the bill tries "to do something reasonable without going overboard."
But Democratic Legislative Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) said contractors should also have to provide the names of all people working on behalf of them and whether they have family members with political connections.
"We need something more comprehensive," he said.
Democrats also questioned the renewal of the county's contract with Armor Correctional Health Services to provide medical care at the East Meadow jail. They cited a recent Newsday report in which a Nassau judge voiced concerns about inmates not getting their prescriptions.
Sheriff's Capt. Keith Sather declined to comment on specific cases, but said inmate grievances have been cut in half since Armor took over in 2011.
He said a renewal was needed because Armor's contract expired on May 31 and the department "ran out of time" to develop a new request for the work.
The only option to ensure inmate health care is not interrupted, Sather said, was to renew Armor's contract.
Karen Davies, Armor's regional vice president, said "cost is never factored into care."Also Monday, the legislature authorized Mangano to borrow $25.5 million for employee termination pay after Democrats forced it to shave $10 million off an earlier borrowing proposal that caucus members deemed excessive.