Members of the Board of Trustees attend a public session, in which they discuss the progress of the master contract.

Anne Charles / Staff Photographer

Members of the Board of Trustees attend a public session, in which they discuss the progress of the master contract.

March 23, 2018

Cornell Negotiating ‘Master Contract’ With New York State, Close to a Deal

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Cornell University is close to signing a “master contract” with New York state, Charles Kruzansky, associate vice president for government relations, said in his report on state relations to the Board of Trustees at a public session on Thursday.

Cornell faculty members or organizations, historically, are often contracted by New York state to solve problems or conduct research, Kruzansky explained in an interview with The Sun. However, each contract goes through a long-drawn negotiation process before work can commence.

“There are hundreds of these contracts,” he said. “Each one gets negotiated between Cornell and a state agency, and they negotiate every single term, every single time.”

The master contract would greatly speed up this negotiation process between Cornell and New York state, from “six or nine months” to “a couple of weeks,” according to Kruzansky.

“It’ll save a lot of time and energy on both sides,” he said.

The master contract won’t completely eliminate the negotiating process, as some terms will vary from contract to contract such as compensation, scope of work and costs. Other provisions, however, will remain constant.

“There’s intellectual property, there’s publication, you know, can we publish the information before the state knows about it, can we disseminate the information,” Kruzansky said. “Those kinds of things [are all in the master contract].”

Cornell and New York state began negotiating the contract in 2012. Most of the work was done with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office, according to Kruzansky.

He also pointed to the State University of New York as an example of the positive impact that such a contract could have.

“The campuses of the State University of New York do not need to have contracts when they do work for New York state agencies,” he said. “This master contract will make it almost as easy for the state to work with Cornell as it is to work with SUNY campuses.”

Currently, the New York state Comptroller’s office is looking over the contract, which will be renegotiated every two years. However, Kruzansky estimates the contract will be official within the “next couple of months.”