Wednesday, December 8

Curran Signs New Policy Increasing Transparency and Combating Conflicts of Interest

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Nassau County Executive Laura Curran has signed a new policy governing countywide procurement and compliance, officially implementing new measures aimed at increasing transparency and flexibility.  Building upon prior enhancements to the County’s procurement policy, transparency is being further increased through enhanced vendor review to ensure vendors have the capacity and integrity to warrant award of a County contract.
Major changes to County policy include:
Enhanced vendor responsibility review
  • Enhanced review of vendor ownership and affiliations
  • Enhanced review of adverse vendor information
  • Formalized responsibility reference checklist
New procurement methods, processes, and requirements
  • Requests for Expressions of Interest
  • Refined process for Requests for Qualifications
  • Increased oversight of award of Emergency Contracts
  • Increased oversight of contract assignments
  • Updated Model RFP
  • Enhanced procurement file contents
“Nassau County had been plagued by a culture of corruption and favoritism due to lack of controls and transparency in the county’s contracting and procurement process. The policy I am signing today is another important step towards restoring trust and fiscal integrity in County government. We will continue to transform the way Nassau County does business, increasing oversight and implementing strong controls to guard against corruption,” said County Executive Curran.
The new policy is part of a comprehensive anti-corruption agenda advanced by County Executive Curran, including the following key initiatives.
  • Banning county officials from accepting gifts of any kind from county vendors, and holding party leadership positions
  • Bringing transparency to county finances, collaborating with Comptroller’s Office to develop Open Checkbook, Open Budget, and Open Payroll
  • Debuting the first-ever Vendor Code of Ethics
  • Removing an anti-competitive fee for businesses seeking to do business with Nassau.
  • Introducing a new business-friendly portal for vendors to submit claims and disclosure forms online and have them reviewed and approved electronically, strengthening oversight and audit trails
  • Phasing out paper-based process across procurement with implemented electronic processes for procurement with increased oversight and stronger audit trails. This includes a digitized process for disclosure that bolsters oversight of conflicts of interest and potential abuse of power by county officials
  • Appointing Nassau County’s very first Chief Procurement Officer & Department Chief Contracting Officers
The full updated procurement policy is available for public viewing here. The purpose of the Nassau County Procurement and Compliance Policy is to set forth clearly: (i) the different methods by which the County may procure goods and services, (ii) when each method may be used, (iii) what approvals must be obtained to complete a procurement under each method, and (iv) procurement-related elements of effective contract administration. All County personnel and vendors involved in procurement are directed to familiarize themselves with this procedure and to follow its provisions. The policy summarizes existing state and local law and the policy and preferred practices of Nassau County. All department contracting officers and other personnel will be trained on the new policy immediately. This is part of the regular trainings provided to contracting officers.
In 2018, County Executive Curran ordered an annual review of the policies dictating how over $1B in county business is spent, including policies and procedures for the procurement process. The policy signed today follows this process, which includes input from the County Legislature, County Comptroller, County Attorney, Inspector General, and select County department heads.

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