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February 17, 2010



Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Audits

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

Office of Children and Family Services: Day Care Complaints Outside of New York City (Follow-Up Report) (2008-F-49)
Child care providers outside New York City are overseen by the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS). Complaints about these providers must be investigated. In a prior audit 2005-S-55, auditors reviewed the adequacy of the complaint resolution process and found that certain improvements were needed. For example, complaints were not always properly classified with respect to their severity and were not always thoroughly investigated. Auditors recommended that a number of actions be taken to improve the complaint resolution process. When auditors followed up on these matters, they found that some progress had been made, but additional actions were still needed.

New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation: Non-Emergency Patient Transportation Services (2008-N-3)
The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) provides comprehensive medical, mental health and substance abuse treatment services to New York City residents, regardless of their ability to pay. HHC used 45 independent vendors to provide livery, taxi, ambulette and ambulance services to transport its patients. HHC pays for these transportation services when the patients are not covered by Medicaid or other third party insurance. Auditors reviewed the transportation services costs for two facilities and found that documentation for physician authorization for transportation was provided at one of the facilities, but was not always at the other facility. Auditors also identified instances in which trips were not billed at the correct rates, and noted that 3 of the 14 drivers working for one of the providers had criminal histories that may be a risk to HHC patients.

New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services: Sale and Disposal of Surplus Assets (2008-N-17)
The New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services is responsible for the disposal of surplus assets held by New York City agencies. Auditors examined whether the department properly accounted for and maximized the revenue from its sale and disposal of surplus assets. They found that the department properly accounted for the revenue received in the sales transactions tested. However, if the department made certain improvements in its practices, it could increase the amount of revenue it earned from the sale of assets and better ensure that assets were properly valued when they were disposed of. For example, the department could likely generate additional revenue if it was permitted to sell surplus assets on the Internet which could total as much as $600,000 a year. Auditors also found that the department could realize more revenue if it sold surplus vehicles for scrap.

Department of Environmental Conservation: Financial Statements for the Title V Operating Permit Program for the Two Years Ended March 31, 2007 (2008-S-94)
The Department of Environmental Conservation regulates the amount of pollutants emitted by large businesses. The program is financed by an annual fee assessed on the regulated businesses and by state appropriations. As of March 31, 2007, the programís fund balance totaled $803,088. Auditors reviewed the consolidated statements of revenues, expenditures and changes in fund balances for the two years ended March 31, 2007. According to the Federal Clean Air Act, the fees assessed on the regulated businesses must be sufficient to cover all the costs of administering the Title V Operating Permit Program. However, these fees have not been sufficient. As a result, the programís fiscal viability is in jeopardy. The department has periodically requested that the State Legislature increase the fees, but the Legislature has not done so.

State Education Department: Security Over Online Registration Renewal and Teacher Certification (2008-S-154)
The State Education Department certifies teachers and licensed practitioners in various professions. Teachers and practitioners in certain professions may use the internet to apply for certification or licenses, or make certain requests related to their certification or licenses. Auditors examined selected aspects of the departmentís security controls over these application and related activities, and identified a number of control weaknesses. Auditors concluded that the data in these applications is not adequately protected against unauthorized access.

New York City Financial Information Services Agency: Controls Over Information Systems (Follow-Up Report) (2009-F-37)
The New York City Financial Information Services Agency (FISA) maintains various financial information systems for New York City, such as its centralized accounting and budgeting system, payroll system, pension system, and personnel system. In a prior audit 2007-N-12, auditors examined selected aspects of the security controls in place over these information systems and found that certain improvements were needed. When auditors followed up on these matters with FISA officials, they found that some progress had been, but additional actions were still needed.

State Liquor Authority: Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control: Network Security Controls (Follow-Up Report) (2009-F-45)
In New York State, the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages is regulated by the State Liquor Authority, a three-member Board of Commissioners that is supported by the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The division has a computer network that helps it perform its duties. In a prior audit 2008-S-111, auditors examined selected aspects of the security controls in place over this network and found that improvements were needed. When auditors followed up on these matters with division officials, they found that some progress had been made, but additional actions were still needed.

State University of New York: Compliance with the Clery Act (Follow-Up Report) (2009-F-46)
Colleges are required by the federal Clery Act to publish certain crime statistics and other safety-related information. In a prior audit 2007-S-121, auditors examined the information published by SUNY campuses and found that it often was not accurate or in full compliance with the Clery Act. For example, 16 campuses lacked four or more of the required disclosures in their annual security report, and three of the four campuses that were visited often underreported or misclassified their crime statistics. When auditors followed up on these matters with SUNY officials, they found that they had made significant progress.

Dormitory Authority of the State of New York: Compliance with Executive Order 111 Requirements to Purchase Power from Renewable Energy Sources (Follow-Up Report) (2009-F-47)
Executive Order 111, which was issued in June 2001, requires all state agencies and certain public authorities, such as the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY), to purchase a certain portion of their electricity from renewable sources (at least 10 percent by 2005 and 20 percent by 2010). In a prior audit 2008-S-77, auditors found that DASNY was in compliance, as it had already substantially exceeded the 20 percent target. Auditors recommended that DASNY take certain actions to help ensure that it continued to comply with the Executive Order. When auditors followed up, they found that they had implemented the audits recommendations.

State University of New York: College at Oneonta: Network Security Controls (2009-S-3)
The College at Oneonta uses a computer network in a number of its activities. Auditors examined selected aspects of the security controls in place over this network. Auditors found that certain improvements were needed.

Department of Motor Vehicles: Oversight of Revenue Contracts (2009-S-15)
The Department of Motor Vehicles has 18 contracts under which it sells data to vendors. The revenue is deposited in the stateís Dedicated Bridge and Highway Trust Fund. During the three-year audit period, the Department received a total of $5.7 million in revenue under these contracts. Auditors reviewed the departmentís administration of these contracts to determine whether it had maximized its revenue opportunities, and found that the department could have realized an additional $460,000 in revenue if it had adjusted certain charges to reflect cost-of-living increases and taken certain other actions.

Office of Court Administration: New York and Queens County Clerk's Offices: Control and Accountability Over Court and Trust Funds (2009-S-58)
All monies paid into the New York City courts are to be forwarded to the New York City Department of Finance for safekeeping. Auditors reviewed the court and trust funds collected at the New York and Queens County Clerkís Offices, and found that these funds were adequately controlled and appropriately safeguarded and deposited. However, the funds in the sample generally were not remitted to the New York City Department of Finance within the two days required by law.

Department of Civil Service: New York State Health Insurance Program: Payments for Services Provided by Weill Cornell Medical College (2009-S-98)
In the New York State Health Insurance Program, the Department of Civil Service administers health insurance programs for active and retired state, local government and school district employees and their dependents. The primary program is the Empire Plan, which provides services costing more than $5 billion a year. The Weill Cornell Medical College is a physician organization located in New York City and does not participate in the Empire Plan. Accordingly, if an Empire Plan member is treated by Weill Cornell Medical College, the Empire Plan may not reimburse Weill Cornell Medical College for its full charges. Rather, it may only reimburse a portion of these charges (generally 80 percent), with the member paying the balance. Auditors examined whether Weill Cornell Medical College was following the plans rules and it was.

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. DiNapoliís office completes approximately 200 state audits and annually identifies hundreds of millions in savings and fraud each year.

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