A consulting company that employed one of then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s daughters — and later scored a job tied to the state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout — is in the running for a contract to help overhaul the state’s embattled Health Department, The Post has learned.
Boston Consulting Group executives were interviewed by DOH officials about two weeks ago after responding to an emergency request for proposals issued earlier this year, according to a source familiar with the matter.
The meeting took place before the resignation on Thursday of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, who’s staying on until Gov. Kathy Hochul names his replacement — and who could ink the deal on his way out the door.
The DOH quietly solicited bidders “to provide Strategic Assessment and Reorganization services to DOH executive staff” on June 29, according to a document buried on its website.
The notice — posted amid the sexual harassment scandal that led to Cuomo’s resignation on Aug. 10 — cited “an increased strain on the resources available to assist in combating the pandemic,” during which the DOH came under fire for its handling of nursing homes.
A March 25, 2020, order issued by Zucker mandated that the facilities admit patients with COVID-19, which critics have blamed for spreading the deadly disease among vulnerable residents.
Earlier this year, The Post also exclusively revealed that then-top Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa privately told Democratic lawmakers that Cuomo’s administration withheld the total nursing home death toll because officials feared it would “be used against us” by the US Justice Department.
The FBI and the Brooklyn US Attorney’s Office launched a criminal probe in the wake of The Post’s report.
The DOH has also been beset by scores of resignations among its upper ranks, with The Post revealing last month that nearly 60 of its highest-paid employees — including policymakers and scientists battling the pandemic — had jumped ship this year.
Since then, Zucker’s No. 2, Lisa Pino, also left and was replaced by Kristin Proud, a former state commissioner of temporary and disability assistance, but a source said Proud has confided to associates that she doesn’t plan to stay long.
The DOH — which has a $188 billion annual budget — comprises a sprawling bureaucracy of more than 100 offices, divisions, bureaus, centers and groups, according to a September 2020 organization chart.
During fiscal 2020, it employed 4,489 people who were paid a total $327.2 million, according to payroll information posted on the SeeThroughNY website.
Bids to help revamp the agency were due July 23, with work anticipated to begin on Sept. 1, but the DOH is still deciding who to hire for the job and is “down to the two finalists,” the source said.
It’s unclear what other company is competing against BCG, a privately owned firm has offices in more than 90 cities and annual revenues of $8.6 billion, according to its website.
In February, the New York Times reported that BCG, along with rival Deloitte, was hired by Cuomo to help plan the state’s vaccination campaign.
The cost of that work hasn’t been made public yet because the contract was signed under the pandemic-related state of emergency that Cuomo declared in March 2020, according to the state Comptroller’s Office.
One of Cuomo’s three daughters, Mariah Kennedy Cuomo, worked as a BCG associate consultant in Summit, N.J., from January 2018 to February 2019, according to her LinkedIn profile.
The state Public Officers Law prohibits officials from having any “direct or indirect” financial interest in any government transactions but Cameron Macdonald of the nonprofit Government Justice Center in Albany said it likely didn’t apply to BCG’s work on the vaccination plan.
“I think it’s very difficult to connect Cuomo to the contract in the first place, except by reputation, and the lack of an overlap in time makes it even more difficult to connect,” he said.
The company also has ties to the state’s Executive Chamber through Simonida Subotic, a former BCG principal who was hired by Cuomo as a deputy secretary for economic development in July 2019, her Linkedin profile shows.
A former DOH employee described the plan to reorganize the agency as merely a “facelift” and a health care industry source called it “another stupid Cuomo idea.”
“An expensive report from an outside consultant doesn’t help run the agency,” the source said.
BCG referred an inquiry from The Post to the DOH, which said nine bidders submitted proposals and added that “bids are still being evaluated.”