Comptroller- and mayor-elect announce nonprofit contracts task force

Brad Lander Headshot 3.3MB
Comptroller-elect Brad Lander.

Mayor-elect Eric Adams and Comptroller-elect Brad Lander announced a new task force in the Daily News today, focused on bettering the relationship between nonprofits and the city.

“Every day, nonprofit organizations provide essential, life-saving services to New Yorkers,” they wrote in their joint op-ed on Dec. 1. “We shouldn’t take a year to pay them.”

The task force, referred to as A Better Contract for New York, will work together to reduce delays in the contract registration process.

“My partnership with Comptroller-elect Lander on this task force will repair long-standing failures of government that have harmed New Yorkers by harming our nonprofits, and also send the message to our providers and taxpayers that the City will run more efficiently and effectively as we face serious challenges in the months and years ahead,” said Adams in a statement.

Lander based his campaign for city comptroller on accountability as the comptroller is often referred to as the “chief accountability officer.” As such, he often said that the city government should change the way that nonprofits are funded. 

“These nonprofits didn’t ask when they would be paid. They just got to work. But if they had asked, the answer would have been: many months after they fronted the funds to pay staff, buy food and provide services,” the newly-elected officials wrote.

The issue was brought to light even more during the pandemic. The nonprofits that will be part of this task force were instrumental in providing food, child care, and helping people access testing and vaccines. 

The Chinese American Planning Council was announced as a member of the task force, and they have worked with the city most recently to bring a vaccine truck to their community members, making 150 aware that they are eligible and vaccinating 30. 

United Neighborhood Houses, another nonprofit on the task force, has advocated for improvements in nonprofit contracts with the city as well. UNH says that over 90% of government human services contracts are registered late, and because nonprofits cannot get paid until the contracts are registered, nonprofits can pay employees for months without the proper funding. 

“Nearly 40% of contracts were registered more than six months late, forcing nonprofits into financial uncertainty or to take out multimillion-dollar loans to cover costs while they wait for payment from the city,” Lander and Adams wrote. 

The task force also includes several city agencies that the comptroller would be responsible for holding accountable and increasing transparency: the Department for the Aging, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services, and the Department of Youth and Community Development. 

Though neither has been sworn in, both the future mayor and comptroller are getting to work early on campaign promises. In this early work, they say they will identify roadblocks within their own offices and work to solve them.

“And we’ll strengthen our joint investigative and auditing capacity to find, stop and punish those who steal public dollars,” they said.