Two former New York State Division of Human Rights officials were blasted for hiring temporary workers at inflated rates in a report out this week by the New York State Inspector General’s office.
Former CFO Stephen Rolandi and former Deputy Commissioner Edward Watkins retained staffing firms Penda Aiken Inc. and Kelly Services Inc. to provide temporary workers at rates higher than those authorized by the state, according to the Inspector General’s office. The Division of Human Rights is now recalculating all payments made and still outstanding to the staffing firms.
“Former top managers at the Division for Human Rights and these two companies circumvented and violated the state’s clear rules for contracting services,” Inspector General Leahy Scott said. “State officials and those who contract with the state are bound by procurement laws and cannot bypass rules and regulations leaving taxpayers to cover any excessive costs.”
State contractors are required to be aware of state procurement laws and rules, according to the Inspector General’s office. In this case, Penda Aiken provided seven temporary workers between late 2011 and early 2014 to work on housing discrimination complaints and federal grant applications. They were hired by the division at hourly rates nearly double the rate approved for those jobs. The division also struck an informal agreement with Kelly Services where it brought in a temporary attorney at a rate more than 10% higher than allowed under contracting procedures.
The report is available online.