CONTRACT CLEAN UP

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FYI: A panel made up of City Council members and Comptroller William Thompson recommended sweeping reforms to the city’s contracting process yesterday. Almost two thirds of 2001 human services contracts came into the Comptroller’s Office after vendors had already begun work. The panel suggests forcing city agencies to pay interest on contracts to vendors who begin work without payment, a penalty that would cost the city an estimated $3 million a year and thus encourage more timely processing. The panel also wants city agencies to stop pushing so much paper when recruiting and signing up contractors and instead to put all the necessary forms online. Finally, the Comptroller’s Office plans to start publishing monthly online reports on each agency’s late contracts, as well as offering tracking information for pending contracts. [1/22/03]