A Queens councilman is looking into the contracting process for senior centers.
On Jan. 12, Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) chaired a hearing of the Subcommittee on Senior Centers. The meeting looked at the Dept. for the Aging and how it creates contracts with senior centers throughout the City. Specifically, the hearing was the first step of looking into the possibility of expanding the agency’s role in helping centers with the right for proposal process, subcontractors and keeping non-contracted locations open.
According to DFTA Deputy Commissioner Caryn Resnick, who spoke at the hearing, the latest request for proposals was issued in 2013, resulting in 233 contracts being awarded to senior centers in the five boroughs. The contracts last for a three-year cycle before they have to be re-evaluated by the DFTA. Since those 233 contracts are one year away from this process, the hearing aims to study the DFTA’s evaluation criteria.
The hearing also looked at the relationship between the senior centers and the subcontractors it uses for services such as meals, case management and transportation. The DFTA said it is looking to bolster the senior centers in their negotiations with subcontractors to make sure they get a fair agreement that will best serve their residents.
With the population of seniors in the City continuing to grow, senior centers are increasingly vital, according to Vallone. He said the hearings will play an essential role in making sure the centers and their contracts are in the best shape possible for the elderly population.
“These hearings are essential to foster the relationship between our city agencies and the day to day needs of our senior centers,” he said. “Evaluation of existing contracts before they are renewed and expanding programs that are working for our City’s seniors will always remain a priority for our committee.”