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August 18, 2009


Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced today that the following audits have been issued:

Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities: Hudson Valley DDSO Administration of Preservation Funds (2008-S-7)
Hudson Valley DDSO oversees the care provided to persons with mental retardation and developmental disabilities in Orange, Rockland, Sullivan and Westchester Counties. This care is provided in group homes, family care homes and other program sites, many of which are operated by not-for-profit (voluntary) agencies. The agencies may receive Preservation Funds from Hudson Valley DDSO for maintenance and renovation projects at these sites. Auditors examined Hudson Valley DDSO’s oversight of the funding process for these projects and found that improvements were needed. For example, for projects to be eligible for Preservation Funding, the contractors must be selected through an open competitive bidding process. Hudson Valley DDSO is supposed to take steps to ensure that such a process is used, but auditors found that the DDSO did not always take these steps. In addition, when auditors reviewed the procurement records at selected voluntary agencies for a sample of completed projects, they found little or no evidence the contractors were selected through an open competitive process. Auditors recommended a number of improvements be made in the DDSO’s oversight of funding for Preservation Fund projects.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority: Compliance with Executive Order 111 Requirements to Purchase Power from Renewable Energy Sources (2008-S-85)
Executive Order 111, issued in June 2001, requires all State agencies and some public authorities to purchase a portion of their electricity from renewable sources (at least 10 percent by 2005 and 20 percent by 2010). The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), responsible for various public transportation systems in the New York City metropolitan area, reported that it met the 10 percent target. However, auditors determined the MTA incorrectly excluded certain buildings from its energy calculations, and as a result, may not have met the target. Auditors also determined the MTA may not meet the 20 percent target for the same reason. Auditors recommended that the MTA include all applicable buildings when measuring its compliance with the renewable energy targets.

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: Flu Pandemic Preparedness (2007-N-19)
Auditors examined whether the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene was actively preparing for a flu pandemic, and found that the Department had developed a comprehensive plan. However, auditors noted that some of the Department’s planning activities were not documented and inventory controls over face masks needed strengthening.

New York City Economic Development Corporation: Downtown Manhattan Heliport: Safety and Security (Follow-Up Report) (2008-F-37)
The Downtown Manhattan Heliport is one of three public heliports in New York City. The Heliport, which is managed by a private company pursuant to a lease agreement with the New York City Economic Development Corporation, is used by sightseeing, corporate and charter helicopter carriers. The Heliport also hosts passenger shuttle flights to Kennedy Airport. The Heliport is required to file a security plan with the Federal Transportation Security Administration. Auditors examined the Heliport’s compliance with this plan as well as other safety and security-related practices, and found that some improvements were needed. When auditors followed up on these matters with New York City Economic Development Corporation officials, they found that progress had been made in the implementation of audit recommendations, but additional actions were still needed. Due to the sensitivity of the information, detailed audit findings and recommendations were not included in either the original audit report or the follow-up report.

State University of New York: Assessments of Academic Majors for Undergraduate Programs at Selected Campuses (2008-S-131)
Campuses in the State University of New York (SUNY) are expected to formally assess their academic undergraduate majors every five to seven years. Auditors examined whether this was being done at six selected campuses and found that it was. However, auditors identified the need for improvement in certain aspects of SUNY System Administration’s monitoring of the assessment process. For example, System Administration lacked a current listing of the majors offered by the campuses, and as a result, was unable to ensure that all majors were accounted for. Auditors recommended certain actions be taken by System Administration.

Department of Agriculture and Markets: Environmental Protection Fund (2008-S-150)
The Department of Agriculture and Markets receives annual allocations from the State’s Environmental Protection Fund to award grants to local governments for environmental projects. Auditors examined whether these grants were awarded in a timely manner and in accordance with valid and objective criteria, and found that they generally were. However, auditors recommended improvements be made in the grant award process to reduce delays in re-awarding returned funds and better ensure that all grant applicants were given the same opportunities to receive funding.

State Government Accountability
The Office of the State Comptroller regularly audits state agencies, public authorities and New York City agencies. Auditors ensure that programs achieve their established goals, funds are used efficiently and assets are adequately protected against fraud, waste and abuse. DiNapoli’s office completes approximately 200 state audits and annually identifies hundreds of millions in savings and fraud each year.


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