I-Team 10 Investigation: Contract controversy

Posted at: 11/12/2013 5:05 PM
Updated at: 11/12/2013 6:17 PM

The governor says he wants skilled, experienced people working for the state. But a plan to find those people and hire them could cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

The governor says they need to be able to find people with skills for state managerial positions. But critics say hiring a company and paying them that much money in your tax dollars is ludicrous. 

The company is Datrose, a Webster based business. Datrose was awarded a contract that could pay it up to $20.6 million over five years depending on how many placements it makes for the state. 

During a radio interview Tuesday, the governor defended the contract, saying it's part of his plan to reform recruiting efforts, making it more professional and less political.

On its webpage, Datrose bills itself as a cost-effective process solutions company with three decades of success. I-Team contacted Datrose, but a representative said no one was available for an interview Tuesday.

Meantime, public employee unions are lambasting Governor Cuomo for spending that kind of money on a headhunter while at the same time cutting the state workforce.

Stephen Madarasz said, "They make the argument that they can no longer afford state services and the governor is systematically eroding agency by agency, demoralizing the workforce. Yet, he has $21 million to be able to hire more people into his political patronage positions."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, "We wanted to professionalize it. We wanted to get a real recruitment firm. It's hard to get talent to come in state government, especially with the salaries we offer. So we're using a professional recruitment firm that we went out and we bid for."

The governor says the $20 million dollar figure is misleading because that's the most they would spend in the contract. So far, the governor says they've only spent $160,000 in actual recruiting fees.

I-Team 10 did reach out to Brian Sampson, the Executive Director of Unshackle Upstate, a pro-business coalition that also fights for reduced taxes. He says, "As you read study after study, it's clear that the private sector can do things more cost effectively than government.  So outsourcing this function, if managed properly, may in fact in the long run save taxpayers money."