FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 28, 2016
MEDIA CONTACTS: Carole Trottere, Rebecca Cheng, Sam Marksheid, and Vicki DiStefano | (516) 869-7794
Bosworth Announces Ethics & Procurement Reform Package for Town
Includes competitive procurement policy, more expansive disclosure; anti-nepotism policy for hiring & establishment, of working group to review ethics code
North Hempstead, NY – North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth today announced a package of sweeping changes to address numerous areas of Town policy, including a more competitive procurement policy with a greater focus on participation by minority and women owned firms and the hiring of a senior level procurement officer; more expansive financial and nepotism disclosure; and a working Ethics Reform Group that will recommend further revisions of the Town’s Ethics Code. The proposed changes are intended to increase openness and transparency in government and expand the circle of vendors with whom the Town does business.
Many of the proposed changes will go before the Town Board in the coming weeks, while several have already been implemented.
“It’s not business as usual here in the Town,” said Supervisor Bosworth. “We are tightening procurement procedures and shining a light on anyone who does business with the town. In addition, we will be engaging an advisor to oversee procurement and open the Town to new vendors, thereby making bidding more competitive. This is all good news for our taxpayers.”
Reforms to Town’s Ethics Code
• Ethics Reform working group: The Supervisor is calling for the formation of an Ethics Reform working group, composed of representatives of the Town Board, the Board of Ethics, the public and the administration. Members will include Town Board council members Peter Zuckerman and Dina De Giorgio, attorney John Brickman, a former member of the NYS Commission on Public Integrity, and Ethics Board members Reverend Charles Vogeley and Justice Richard Kestenbaum. The working group will review the Code in depth and propose legislative changes to the Town Board, which would consider the proposals at a public hearing. They also will consider other changes including clearer guidance in regards to gifts to employees and campaign donations from vendors. The Ethics group will be assisted by changes to the procurement process to require additional disclosure from vendors to include the acknowledgment of any substantial tax debt.
• Financial and Nepotism Disclosure: Several of the financial and nepotism disclosure recommendations were enacted into law in March 2016 when the Town Board approved changes to the law to now require contractors who directly advise town boards to file financial disclosure statements and for filers to disclose relatives who are employed with the Town.
The Town Attorney’s office will also be working with the Office of Human Resources and the union to draft an anti-nepotism policy to be proposed to the Town Board. The proposed policy would address a prohibition on supervision of family members; a prohibition on family members having a role in hiring, promotion or discipline decisions concerning relatives; a prohibition of direct supervision of family members; disclosure of family relationships to supervisors so that potential conflicts can be avoided; and recommendations concerning how to address existing family employment situations within the restrictions of the civil service titles to which Town employees are entitled to.
Reforms to Town’s Procurement Policy:
• Centralizing Procurement: The Town is proposing to centralize the procurement that is now done by individual departments to further professionalize the Town’s approach to buying goods and services.
“The Town’s current vendors provide great services and do fine work. However, we believe that by centralizing the procurement procedures and preparing bids in a way that attract a wider pool of possible respondents, we will be able to open the Town to new vendors and increase competition,” said Supervisor Bosworth. “This will lead to better pricing which will benefit our taxpayers.”
• Senior Advisor: The Town is proposing the establishment of a senior advisor to oversee procurement for all departments. The advisor, with direct access to the Supervisor, would be in charge of updating the Town’s approach to bids and RFP’s to open the Town to new vendors, with the goal of increasing participation by minority and women owned businesses, as well as improving price competition.