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Todd Kaminsky’s bill would tighten NY contract disclosure

Assemb. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), at lectern, with

Assemb. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), at lectern, with Assemb. Michaelle Solages and Assemb. Charles Lavine, announcing plans for legislation to require municipalities to disclose more details about their contracts, on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016 in Rockville Centre. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Assemb. Todd Kaminsky, a Democrat running for former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ seat, plans to introduce legislation to require municipalities to disclose new details about their contracts, including whether there were multiple bidders and if the winning firm offered the lowest price.

At a news conference in Rockville Centre outside Skelos’ old State Senate district office, Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) was joined by Assembly co-sponsors Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove) and Michaelle Solages (D-Elmont) in calling for reforms to procurement systems they claim are open to corruption.

Kaminsky, a former federal prosecutor, said a lack of vetting allowed Skelos to manipulate Nassau’s contracting system to get a $12 million stormwater contract for AbTech Industries, which employed his son, Adam.

Prosecutors said Dean Skelos improperly helped his son get consulting payments at AbTech Industries. Dean and Adam Skelos were convicted in December of eight counts of bribery, extortion and conspiracy, and plan to appeal.

“Our contracts are going to people’s friends, families and cronies,” Kaminsky said.

Kaminsky’s Republican Senate opponent, attorney Christopher McGrath, said “when it comes to encouraging transparency and restoring the public trust, I won’t take a back seat to anyone.”

Kaminsky’s bill, which mirrors legislation introduced in the Senate by Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens), would require municipal and county governments to create a public “vendor responsibility system.”

The database would include details of all contracts costing more than $10,000. Municipalities would have to disclose the types of services provided, if the work was publicly bid, if the firm provided the lowest price and the company’s principal owners and officers.

The system also would disclose whether a contractor has been suspended, disbarred, has any court judgments, outstanding tax warrants, unsatisfied liens, bankruptcies or recent criminal convictions.

The state would pay for half of the cost to set up and operate the system for its first two years.

Nassau lawmakers last year passed laws requiring contractors to identify their lobbyists and political contributions but have been reluctant to pass more sweeping recommendations suggested by a panel commissioned by Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano.

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