The Business Council of New York State, the state’s leading statewide business and industry association, opposes this legislation, which would impose burdensome and ill-defined analysis requirements on state agencies prior to entering into a consultant services contract anticipated to be in excess of $750,000 in a 12-month period.
The bill specifically requires state agencies to determine whether services can be provided by state employees at an equal or lower cost. In the mandated analysis, the bill requires a consideration of costs associated with the current state employees doing work that would otherwise be handled by a consultant.
A convoluted system under which the state agency would study the scenario, try to access the costs, and after calculations of cost and impact on workforce, the state agency is then charged with exploring a “business plan” taking into consideration various additional factors. After this level of study the plan is sent to the State Comptroller for his opinion with only a 90-day window to opine.
This legislation is duplicative, if the intended purpose of the bill is to bring heightened scrutiny to consultant contract spending by agencies and the services those contracts are providing, Chapter 10 of the Laws of 2006 significantly expanded this important aspect of bid preparation and analysis. Existing law already requires the amount and type of information that agencies must report when they hire outside consultants, including the number of consultants utilized on a specific project, historical information about consultant use by the agency and a projection of future consultant use and costs throughout the term of the contract.
Current State Procurement Guidelines recommend that agencies provide detailed justification of their purchasing practices in the contract procurement record, and procurements conducted through an RFP process must document how best value for the State of New York was determined. State agencies undertake detailed procurement procedures long before an award or contract is given, with many levels of scrutiny both within the agency and from external control agencies. This is an expected management role, and one that achieves the appropriate balance as any spending is proposed. For these very reasons the Executive vetoed a similar bill in 2012 stating, among other reasons, “State Finance Law already requires that agencies establish and document the need for services and ensure that the cost is reasonable” and “also requires that service contracts be awarded on the basis of "best value," which optimizes not only cost, but also quality and efficiency.” In 2018 the Governor stated he “vetoed a similar bill in the past because the bill outlined a process that was, and still is, duplicative of current practice” and thus vetoed it for the second time.
There is no justification to add at this time additional analysis and burdens that will consume staff time and resources, when sufficient provisions exist within state law. Current law stipulates a procedure, that when followed, ensures funds are being appropriately spent and an agency's use of its personnel on carrying out its core mission is not being compromised.
For these reasons, The Business Council opposes this legislation.