Concern from comptroller over late contracts with non-profits

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)– State agencies are making no progress towards renewing state contracts on time, says the New York State Comptroller’s Office based on a newly released report on non-profit contract renewals Monday. Covering calendar year 2019, the report says 50% of contracts with non-profits were late compared to 47% from the previous calendar year.

State agencies paid out approximately $106,000 less money in interest fees related to the timely renewal of contracts with non-profit organizations from calendar years 2018-2019. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says he’s more concerned about what late deals will mean to non-profits already struggling from the effects of the COVID-19 recession.

“In the coming months, New York State will need to rely on our not-for-profit partners more than ever to continue fighting the impacts of the coronavirus and help provide essential services to New Yorkers,” says DiNapoli. “The failure of state agencies to process contracts on time is unacceptable and harms service providers in fields like healthcare, care for the disabled, education and homeless services, which in turn erodes service delivery to vulnerable populations.”

Chief Executive Officer of the New York Council of Nonprofits, Inc., Dough Sauer, echoes DiNapoli, saying non-profits who have contracts with state agencies were already being squeezed. He expects it’ll get worse with looming budget cuts to make up for a $13 billion gap in the state budget from the coronavirus pandemic.

“The fact that after decades of the work, the prompt contracting problem has not been resolved and is actually going in the reverse direction is disturbing, to say the least,” says Sauer. “In this COVID-era, nonprofits are critical to the health, welfare, and recovery of our communities, and this issue can be ‘the last straw that breaks the camel’s back’ for many.”

Sauer says some non-profit programs are sustained through state contracts and that they forgo money to operate when arrangements are late. He says non-profits waiting on a deal could be counting on promised money that won’t be available if the state decides to cut funding.

The Office of Children and Family Services paid out the highest amount of interest fees, 66% or $32,393. If the trend of late contracts continues, it means services like daycare, after school, and domestic abuse programs may suffer much, should expected state money be cut or disappear entirely.

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