Mayor Adams and Comptroller Brad Lander announced Friday that the city has cleared up a bureaucratic logjam that was preventing $4.2 billion in city funds from going to non-profit contractors.
Many of the contractors provide vital services to the city’s poor and had been waiting months to be paid for services rendered.
The effort to clear the backlog stemmed from the Joint Task Force to Get Nonprofits Paid on Time, an entity Adams and Lander both helped form.
In May, the task force launched an initiative to put the stalled contracts in motion, and on Friday, city officials said the effort has resulted in approximately 2,600 contracts being pushed through the city’s arcane procurement procedures and registered by the comptroller’s office.
Lisa Flores, the city’s chief procurement officer and head of the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services, said at first the task at hand seemed “insurmountable.”
“It was a sort of perfect storm,” she said. “With the pressure of COVID, with the pressure of the economy and then really just everyone trying to get the work done of addressing COVID in the immediate, there are multiple years that things sort of did not necessarily have full focus.”
Flores, Lander and Adams all pointed to the city’s byzantine contracting process and vowed that streamlining it is also in order. Lander specifically cited public hearings that are rarely well-attended and that can add more than a month to the process, as well as oversight by the Financial Control Board, a relic from the 1970′s fiscal crisis that he suggested needn’t continue to play a role in approving larger city contracts.
According to Adams, the city is continuing to identify unnecessary bureaucratic steps and will then figure out whether those steps can be removed by the mayor himself or through legislation.