All of the contract information could be made available online, said Claude Millman, a partner at Kostelanetz and Fink, who represents government contractors, including nonprofits, doing business with New York City and state, and a former director of the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services.
“If I decided I wanted to tell everyone about a proposed contract I could post it on Facebook, link to the contract, and allow online commenting I would read out at the hearing,” he said. “If you regularly make (the contracts) unavailable, you’re going to depress public interest in the hearings themselves.”
Draft contracts are made available for 10 days prior to the hearing, though only within the confines of the public review office. There are no copies for the public to take and no pictures permitted.
Millman suggests, among other things, a shift towards using social media to help create both public interest and awareness.
“They could be very interactive and accessible, but it hasn’t been that way,” said Millman. “Very few people even know the hearings exist.”