Comptroller candidates aim to see nonprofits paid on time

New York state Sen. Brian Benjamin.
New York state Sen. Brian Benjamin.
NYS Senate Media Services
State Sen. Brian Benjamin.

Comptroller candidates aim to see nonprofits paid on time

Candidates laid out plans to end the delays during a Monday forum.
May 25, 2021

New York City’s comptroller candidates committed to speeding the pace at which nonprofits are paid by the city during a forum hosted by several nonprofit organizations on Monday.

Nonprofits that contract with New York City have long complained about the timeliness of their city payments. A 2018 report from the city comptroller’s office found that nearly 91% of contracts with human services organizations were submitted late. One candidate, Zach Iscol, said he saw the problem firsthand at his nonprofit, which once waited two to three years to be paid $300,000 for services rendered. 

State Sen. Brian Benjamin said he’d create a general taskforce if elected that would ensure payments are approved within a certain time-frame. Instead of having the contract approval process progress step-by-step, state Sen. Kevin Parker similarly said the city should transition to a concurrent process to speed up payments. Council Member Brad Lander also committed to a more integrated approach, saying the comptroller’s office should be embedded in the city’s procurement database to monitor the processing of contracts and also move faster on approval on the comptroller’s end. 

Iscol pointed to the possibility of setting aside funds for nonprofit contracts from the outset of the process. “I think we need to take a hard look at having the city put money in escrow when it signs a contract with a nonprofit, he said, “so that once the nonprofit delivers its services, that money exits escrow and they get paid immediately, because what the city’s doing right now is, it’s moving money around.” 

Some candidates pledged to get payments on at a specific speed. Assembly Member David Weprin said organizations ought to be paid within 30 days. Benjamin said the overall timeframe for approval shouldn’t exceed three to four months. 

NYN Media reporter Kay Dervesh
Kay Dervishi
is a staff reporter at NYN Media.