Following the public corruption scandals that resulted in criminal convictions for associates of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, including his top aide, Joe Percoco, the governor promised reforms.
The New York state legislature vowed to take the lead with legislation to reform how state contracts get awarded, but the Cuomo Administration said that wasn't necessary, and vowed to make the changes themselves in a deal with State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.
But, as NY1 reported on Tuesday, it's been eight months and that deal still hasn't happened.
"There are a couple of approaches on this," DiNapoli said. "We had a legislative proposal to undo what had happened statutorily. In the meantime, the governor and I came up with an agreement to deal with this with the view that we could do it administratively without a change in the law. And that has been where there has been the holdup."
The holdup has frustrated some lawmakers, particularly in the state Senate, which wants the reforms done now.
"Out of respect for this publicly announced agreement, the legislature more or less stood down, figuring that this was settled," James Skoufis, a Democratic state senator for Orange County, said in a phone interview. "But, more broadly speaking, this validates what I've always felt, which is that laws are better than agreements."
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie was more muted, but said he trusted Cuomo to get a deal done without the legislature.
"They said they had an agreement," Heastie said. "As I always said, I want to have a place where the governor, the Assembly, and the Senate are comfortable in making sure that there is transparency and state funds are spent efficiently."
Cuomo appeared on NY1 on Wednesday morning and was asked about the status of the deal.
"The comptroller is a person of his word. The lawyers haven't worked out the language yet. They will shortly," Cuomo said. "But I have no doubt that the comptroller is going to do what he said he was going to do, and I know I am going to do what I said I was going to do."
Even if Cuomo and DiNapoli a deal to make the changes, some legislators believe they should codify them into law when they return to Albany next year. Changes in how state contracts are awarded could have prevented some of the worst high-level public corruption scandals that the state has seen in years.