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April 05, 2011

 

DiNapoli: Port Authority Should Plan and Account for Vehicle Purchases Better


The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (Port Authority) purchased more than $8 million worth of vehicles and heavy equipment without justifying the need, according to an audit released by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.  The audit covered the period January 2007 to December 2009, during which time the Port Authority bought 616 vehicles and/or heavy equipment for a total of $48.2 million.

“The Port Authority should follow its procedures,” DiNapoli said.  “Now more than ever, when it comes to taxpayer dollars, accountability and accuracy count.”

DiNapoli’s auditors found that during the audit period the Port Authority did not follow its own procedures to ensure the acquisition of vehicles and heavy equipment was justified. In a random sample of 75 items that were purchased for $8.2 million, the Port Authority provided documented justification for the purchase of only two items for $192,279.

Among the audit’s findings:

  • A review of 52 replacement items found that 23 had the required mechanic’s review and cost benefit analysis. For 13 of the items the mechanic’s review of the old vehicles was done an average of four months after the new vehicles arrived.
  • The Port Authority also over-budgeted for car services during the audit period. While it authorized $705,000 for the audit period for car services, expenditures actually totaled only $179,680 for this time period.
  • The Port Authority procured 21 sampled vehicles valued at $2.5 million with the understanding that 14 older vehicles would be retired.  However, the retirements did not take place.

DiNapoli recommended that the Port Authority:

  • Enforce its requirement to document the reasons for purchasing new items, including mechanic’s reviews.
  • Document the planning process of vehicle and heavy equipment purchases.
  • Increase oversight of the rental process and develop procedures to be sure the correct amount is budgeted for rentals.
  • Analyze equipment rentals to determine if they are repetitive and if it is better to purchase the equipment.
  • Estimate contracted car service needs based on past spending trends or remove car services from the purchase program.

For a copy of the report visit: http://osc.state.ny.us/audits/allaudits/093011/09s32.pdf



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