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January 25, 2008

DiNapoli: Great Neck UFSD to Improve
Procurement Procedures

After an audit by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s office found that the Great Neck Union Free School District awarded $1.3 million in contracts to five vendors without adhering to competitive bidding requirements, school district officials agreed to improve its procurement procedures when awarding future contracts.

“The purpose of school district audits is to help districts identify where controls are working well and where they need to be improved,” DiNapoli said. “Our audit of the Great Neck school district will help the district improve its procedures for purchasing goods and services. I appreciate the cooperation Great Neck school officials extended to our audit team, including providing appropriate back-up material.”

When purchase contracts exceed $10,000 or public works contracts are greater than $20,000, General Municipal Law and the district’s own procurement policy require that these contracts be publicly advertised for bids and awarded to the lowest responsible bidder. These requirements ensure the district gets the best possible price.

Auditors looked at select public works contracts the district entered into during the 2005-06 school year. Contracts, totaling $605,231, were awarded to four vendors without advertising for bids. The district did receive quotes from other vendors before it entered into contracts with three of these vendors. The fourth vendor, an electrical contractor, was awarded $420,309 in contracts without the benefit of competitive proposals. This contractor was also awarded a contract for $81,380 in June 2006 that was paid in the 2006-07 school year, without the benefit of competition.

Auditors reviewed electrical work contracts from 2001 to 2006 and found the district entered in to an additional $765,000 in contracts with a second electrical contractor that did not meet competitive bidding requirements.

The audit recommends that school district officials:

  • follow provisions of the General Municipal Law regarding competitive bidding requirements;
  • establish dollar limitations on budgetary transfers that the superintendent can approve; and
  • properly segregate the duties of the treasurer.

The district agreed to implement many of the audit’s recommendations. The district’s full response is included in the audit.

School District Accountability
In order to improve accountability of the state’s schools, DiNapoli’s office will audit all of New York’s 834 school districts, Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) and charter schools by 2010. Auditors review the school districts’ internal controls and make recommendations on how internal controls can be improved. The State Comptroller’s office has completed 350 school audits and approximately 200 school audits are currently underway.

Click here for a copy of the audit.



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