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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency – Selected Financial Operations (2012M-65)


Released: December 7, 2012 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review selected Agency financial operations for the period January 1, 2010, to October 11, 2011.

Background

The Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency is a public benefit corporation located in Ulster County. The Agency's primary function is to develop, finance, and implement a comprehensive county-wide solid waste management program. The Agency is governed by a five-member Board of Directors and an Executive Director. The Agency's 2011 budgeted appropriations totaled approximately $15.4 million.

Key Findings

  • The Board has not established procedures to monitor compliance with the Agency's procurement policy. Consequently, of the $16.7 million in purchases we tested that required public bidding or solicitation of multiple quotes, $8.5 million in purchases did not conform to the policy guidelines. For example, since 1999, the Agency has primarily used the same landfill, which happens to be 235 miles from the Town of Ulster transfer station, without considering other facilities that were closer. For the audit period, the Agency paid this landfill about $4.6 million. The Agency did not use competition to procure fuel and some hauling services.
  • The Agency awarded a contract for the hauling of waste to landfills to a vendor, who was paid $388,515 during the audit period, who did not meet the requirements set forth in the bidding documents.
  • The sale of the recyclable materials is not performed in an open and competitive fashion. Rather, the Agency sells the recyclables periodically using an informal process of contacting one or more private brokers who provide price quotes.
  • Controls over cash disbursements could be strengthened through a more effective oversight process.

Key Recommendations

  • Develop procedures to ensure that the requirements concerning quotes or bids included in the procurement policy are being met.
  • Only award contracts to those vendors that meet all specifications in the bidding documents.
  • Develop comprehensive guidelines and procedures to ensure that the sale of recyclable materials is performed in an open, transparent, and competitive way, with documented oversight and approvals.
  • Adopt a policy and set of procedures to ensure that compensating controls are in place so that duties that cannot be practically and properly segregated are effectively monitored.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email: localgov@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236