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Gov. Cuomo issued an executive order Thursday intended to help state agencies avoid doing business with contractors linked to organized crime.

It establishes a Council of Contracting Agencies, headed by John Egan, commissioner of the state Office of General Services, that includes major agencies such as the state Department of Transportation that issue contracts for state work. Cuomo said the council is supposed to design a new questionnaire to be used by all state agencies for the collection of information about contractors.

Earlier this month, the Albany Times Union newspaper reported that in the past four years the state has paid at least $12.5 million to 22 companies -- many in the garbage hauling business -- with ties to organized crime figures.

Cuomo noted that the Organized Crime Task Force is preparing its final report on reducing corruption and racketeering in the New York City construction industry.

"Coupled with our aggressive, on-going efforts through the Office of the State Inspector General, the Organized Crime Task Force and the Construction Industry Task Force, this executive order will extend the integrity of the state's competitive bidding process," said Cuomo.

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