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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Nassau County – Contract Approval Process (2012M-192)


Released: March 14, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to examine the County's internal controls over the approval of contracts equal to or greater than $50,000 for the period January 1, 2010, to March 31, 2012.

Background

Nassau County, located on Long Island, covers 287 square miles and has a population of over 1.3 million. The County is governed by an elected County Executive, and 19-member County Legislature. The County’s 2012 adopted budget totaled approximately $3 billion.

Key Findings

  • Although we found that County contracts are authorized in accordance with the County Charter and the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority (NIFA) directives, the authorization process is not always timely. Seven of the 22 contracts subject to the County Charter 45-day approval process exceeded the limit from two to 111 days.
  • When additional guidelines were added by NIFA during a control period, the contract approval process increased to an average of 85 days, an increase of 39 days. Due to the County’s lengthy process for approving contracts, officials are allowing services to be performed by vendors prior to the ratification of contracts and the signature of the County Executive or the Deputy County Executive.

Key Recommendations

  • Develop a process for prioritizing the approval of contracts for essential and needed services so that vendors can provide those services at the earliest possible time. Review those contracts where goods/services were provided before being signed by the County Executive and determine the cause of the delay and identify corrective actions needed to make the process more efficient.
  • Continue to meet with NIFA officials to review and update the contract approval guidelines to ensure they are comprehensive, clear, concise, and consistently applied. Also consider streamlining the approval process so that contracts can be approved more timely.

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