June 2, 2011
By Kismet Barksdale
Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer blasted the “shameful contractor scandals” rocking the Department of Education and called for an immediate halt to all new and non essential contracts pending a “top to bottom probe, a thorough housecleaning of the department’s contracting procedures.” He unveiled a reform package requiring DOE to be more publicly accountable.
On this third contractor related scandal to hit the DOE in recent weeks, the Borough President said, “This gravy train has got to stop, today. It’s time for City Hall to wake up.”
The Borough President noted that DOE spending on outside consultants has exploded by 331%, from FY 2004 to FY 2012. “The DOE budget is a black hole that has become a home for contracts run amok,” Stringer said. “We need DOE to open its books once and for all and rein in this reckless spending. These reforms are more urgent than ever, given City Hall’s misguided plan to eliminate 6,000 teachers, the largest classroom cuts in a generation.”
Stringer said DOE should be required to:
Place a freeze on all new, non essential contracts at DOE, pending a full scale review of what all these contracts are for. At the same time, the New York City comptroller should be granted greater oversight of all DOE contracts.
Detail what systems are in place for the DOE to make sure that its far flung contractors many of them based in foreign countries are actually doing the work they say they are.
Present more contracts for approval to the Panel for Education Policy with more of the details that members need to make an honest assessment of those contracts.
Provide an accounting of how many of these outside contracts were awarded without bids. If they were awarded without bids, what was the reason provided?
Establish new protocols to prevent DOE officials like Raab from holding down high level agency jobs one day, and working for a DOE contractor the next.
“New Yorkers are fed up with these abuses,” Stringer concluded. “Boss Tweed may have built the Tweed Courthouse as a monument to his corrupt ways but that doesn’t mean the DOE should continue the tradition. We need reform now.”