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City rushed shelter services contract through with little oversight: Lander

Begins audit of $432M agreement

September 18, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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NYC Comptroller Brad Lander on Monday announced that he will immediately begin an audit of the oversight of the operations and invoices incurred by DocGo, Inc., the medical services company hired by the city for $432 million on a no-bid emergency basis to provide shelter services to new arrivals in the city and upstate.

In a letter sent to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), Lander noted his office has “serious concerns about the selection of this vendor and its performance of contract duties.”

He didn’t, in the letter, give examples of poor performance by DocGo — instead, he focused on the selection process.

Earlier this month, the Comptroller’s Office declined to approve the contract. In his letter, Lander acknowledged that under the City Charter, the Mayor’s Office has every right to proceed with contracts over the office of the City Comptroller — but once again, he stressed his concerns.

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He also acknowledged that the decision was taken amid the almost unprecedented phenomenon of thousands of migrants coming here each month.

However, said Lander, “New Yorkers deserve real-time oversight and accountability to understand how this price tag was reached, ensure this company has the experience to provide the contracted services, and vet the integrity and responsibility of this vendor.”

In the letter, Lander criticized Mayor Eric Adams’ administration for allegedly pushing the contract through without enough oversight.

“The contract with DocGo also raises broader concerns regarding the Adams Administration’s utilization of emergency procurement. The City Charter and NYC Procurement Policy Board (PPB) rules allow agencies to enter into contracts quickly to meet the needs of an emergency.
“However, the emergency procurement process does not absolve agencies of the responsibility to select vendors carefully, attend to cost considerations, and perform vendor oversight throughout the duration of the contract,” the letter said.
Indeed, the comptroller said his office is reviewing whether there is a need to revoke a 2022 “prior approval” authorization that it granted the Administration to utilize emergency procurement rather than seek specific prior approval for each individual contract.

Lander noted that the prior authorization had not been intended as a blanket approval of any contract that any agency wishes to enter into.

“Agencies must ensure that selected vendors have the requisite expertise and wherewithal to perform as required under the contract, and the use of sub-contractors should be pre-approved and appropriately vetted before engaged by vendors,” Lander said in the letter.

A statement from the Comptroller’s Office said the audit would be the first of its kind in NYC government.

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