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July 17, 2008

DiNapoli Advises Bethpage UFSD Officials to
Seek Competition for Professional Services and
Improve Payroll Record Keeping

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today released an audit on the Bethpage Union Free School District which found the district could have saved taxpayer dollars by advertising for competitive bids for professional services. The audit also found inadequate procedures and controls over claims auditing and payroll.

“The Bethpage UFSD avoided the loss of tax dollars,” said DiNapoli. “But officials would do well to adopt additional policies and procedures to avoid the possibility of loss or theft of taxpayer dollars in the future.”

Auditors found that the district paid $454,000 to professional contractors without advertising for competing proposals. Although state law does not require the seeking of competitive bids, a bidding process could have lowered the cost for these services.

The audit also found, contrary to statutory requirements, the district’s claims auditor had responsibilities beyond the payment or rejection of claims for payment by the district, leading to a potential compromise of the claims auditor’s independence and impairment of sound decision making.

In addition, DiNapoli’s auditors found that district officials assigned the same sequential identification numbers to payroll checks and direct deposit stubs, giving the impression that duplicate payments could be made by the payroll system. Auditors did not find that duplicate payments had been made.

DiNapoli recommended that district officials:

  • solicit competitive bids before awarding contracts for professional services;
  • clarify and limit the authority of the claims auditor; and
  • maintain a log to track the sequential integrity of check and direct deposit stub numbers used for processing payrolls.

District officials generally agreed with the audit’s recommendations and indicated they would take corrective action.

Click here for a copy of the audit.


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