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Nassau DA should probe Armor jail deal

This aerial view shows the Nassau County Jail

This aerial view shows the Nassau County Jail in East Meadow. Credit: / Kevin P. Coughlin

It’s not just the medical care delivered by Armor Correctional Health Services to inmates at Nassau County’s jail that needs investigation. The company’s $11 million contract is highly suspect, too.

Through competitive bidding in 2011, Armor won a two-year contract that allowed a two-year extension. So by 2015, a new request for proposals should have been prepared and new bidding should have occurred. Instead, because County Executive Edward Mangano and his staff failed to prepare that new request, Armor’s contract was extended another two years, a move forbidden by the county charter. And the lack of competitive bidding was not the only problem. The 2015 extension never went before the Nassau Interim Finance Authority for approval, as required. If it had, the board might have flagged the lack of bidding and denied the contract.

By 2015, when Armor and the county agreed on this extension, seven inmates had died in the four years since the company came to the Nassau jail, and state Commission of Correction investigations had concluded in several cases that the company provided inadequate or incompetent care. In July, state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman filed a lawsuit demanding that the county hire a monitor to oversee Armor’s care, that Armor be banned from bidding on future contracts in the state, and that Nassau claw back money paid for care Armor hasn’t provided and contractual benchmarks it hasn’t met.

To this, we’d suggest adding one more investigation. Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas has in the past expressed interest in the county’s often abysmal contracting process. This huge outlay of money, for a company that was already failing to live up to its contract, would be a smart place to focus. — The editorial board