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NYSID News Blog

May 10, 2017

NYSID Participates in “Town Hall” with Office of General Services

Category: General — NYSID @ 1:16 pm

At a “Town Hall” held in Albany during NY GovBuy, NYSID members from across the state called upon the New York State Office of General Services (OGS) to improve the price application approval process for Preferred Source contracts, which has been both minimally defined and cumbersome for several years. Left unchanged, the current process could result in the loss of much needed jobs and economic opportunities for New Yorkers with disabilities.

Michelle Wolfe, The Arc of Madison Cortland, testifies about the importance of Preferred Source employment during the "Town Hall" with OGS

During the May 3 “Town Hall,” NYSID members and individuals with disabilities who work on the Preferred Source contracts described to OGS how the uncertainty and vagueness in the price application approval process is making employment for New Yorkers with disabilities even more difficult.

The Rome Sentinel reported on the “Town Hall.”

Michelle Wolfe, an employee from The Arc of Madison Cortland, urged OGS to remedy its Preferred Source contract price approval process so as to provide continued employment for her and her fellow New Yorkers with disabilities.

“Preferred Source contracts are extremely important to people with disabilities and their livelihood,” Wolfe said. “I want you to realize that every delay has a huge negative impact on people. Real people with disabilities.”

Despite the success of the Preferred Source Program, the employment rate for individuals with disabilities in New York remains unacceptably high, and 2016 saw a decline in jobs for these individuals once thriving on NYSID contracts.

Members of NYSID’s board of directors and executive management from NYSID member agencies raised concerns about specific issues regarding the process, including OGS’ interpretation of what constitutes prevailing market pricing, engaging an independent party to establish market comparables when necessary, and engaging sub-contractors on Preferred Source contracts.

To help address these urgent concerns and improve the Preferred Source Program, NYS Senator Catharine Young (R/I/C-Olean) and Assemblymember Aileen Gunther (D/I/WF-Forestburgh) recently introduced legislation to protect the social and economic goals for individuals with disabilities that the Preferred Source Program serves.

Specifically, the legislation addresses the above issues and looks for OGS review for services that have a value over $200,000. It also establishes a defined period of 90 days for the price approval process to be completed.

NYSID has created a sample letter for individuals to customize in their outreach to NYS legislators and committee leaders encouraging their support for this legislation.

 

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