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Nassau lawmakers to weigh contract disclosure change

Nassau lawmakers on Monday are expected to approve a proposal by Legis. Siela Bynoe to close a loophole in the county’s contract disclosure laws.

Bynoe, a Westbury Democrat, wants vendors to provide updated background information in writing before they get any new deals. Currently, Nassau uses disclosure forms as old as six months when asking the legislature to authorize new work for the vendor.

Bynoe questioned the six-month policy last month when County Executive Laura Curran’s administration asked lawmakers to approve a $500,000 contract for Manhattan-based Exiger LLC to serve as the “integrity monitor” of the $50 million police academy construction project.

Exiger’s disclosure forms, which ask principals to list political contributions, criminal charges or financial troubles, had been submitted for a different project and were dated a month before the county solicited integrity monitors for the police academy construction. Curran subsequently withdrew the contract.

Although Curran officials said they told Exiger to disclose any new information, Bynoe said, “We were talking about a half-million-dollar contract and I was uncomfortable with the idea there was only verbal confirmation that there weren’t any changes, and that a county employee was responsible for retrieving the disclosure. … It wasn’t even like the company itself was disclosing a new form.”

Her amendment, she said, will require contractors “to confirm there was no change from the previously submitted documents, closes the loophole and ensures the entity is providing the most current information.”

Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) said, “While we are reviewing Legislator Bynoe’s bill to see what else can be done to mitigate concerns we have with contracts like Exiger, I believe this is a step in the right direction in making the contracting process even more transparent.”

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