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July 2, 2010

Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Audits

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

Higher Education Services Corporation - Tuition Assistance Program: College of New Rochelle (2009-T-4)
During the 2005-2006 through 2007-2008 academic years, the College of New Rochelle certified more than $35 million in Tuition Assistance Program awards. Auditors disallowed $62,341 because students were incorrectly certified as eligible for the awards. For example, some students received awards even though they were not in full-time attendance.

New York City Department of Youth and Community Development: Contracts for Personal and Miscellaneous Services (2009-N-12)
In the year covered by our audit, the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development had 23 contracts for personal and miscellaneous services with a total value of $11.4 million. Auditors examined whether the department was adequately justifying the need to initially contract out for such services. Auditors found that the department was not maintaining adequate documentation of the need to contract out for such services and was not reassessing whether such contracts could be deferred, eliminated or reduced.

Department of Taxation and Finance: Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise Reporting (2009-S-82)
State agencies and public authorities are required to promote the participation of minority-owned business enterprises (MBEs) and women-owned business enterprises (WBEs) in state contracts and procurement opportunities. Specifically, agencies must establish annual goals for such participation, make a “good faith” effort to achieve these goals, and report quarterly on their level of participation. Auditors examined the Department of Taxation and Finance’s performance in these areas and found that it had established supportable goals and was making a good faith effort to achieve these goals.

Follow up audits issued include:

City University of New York: Borough of Manhattan Community College: Selected Financial Management Practices (Follow-Up Report) (2010-F-27)
In audit 2008-N-8, auditors identified the need for certain internal control improvements in the areas of cash disbursements, procurement, employee tuition waivers, and employee timekeeping practices. When auditors followed up, they found that their recommendations had been implemented.

New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services: Division of Municipal Supply Services: Central Storehouse Inventory (Follow-Up Report) (2010-F-17)
In audit 2007-N-1, auditors examined the controls over inventories at the storehouse and found that improvements were needed. In particular, inventory levels at the storehouse were not independently verified and inventory-related duties were not adequately separated among different employees to prevent certain employees from having too much control over the inventories. When auditors re-examined, they found that significant progress had been made.

New York City Department of Finance: Accountability Over Court, Trust and Bail Funds (Follow-Up Report) (2009-F-41)
In audit 2007-N-8, auditors found that the department was able to reconcile records of the total amounts of these funds to the amounts on deposit with its banks. However, it was unable to reconcile the individual ledger accounts for the funds to the amounts in the banks. At the time of the audit, there were unresolved discrepancies of about $3.3 million for the bail funds and $10.8 million for the court and trust funds. When auditors followed up, they found that progress had been made.

State Education Department: Criminal History Background Checks for School Employees (Follow-Up Report) (2010-F-16)
In audit 2007-S-119, auditors examined the department’s oversight of this process and found that improvements were needed, as the background checks were sometimes subject to long delays. In addition, since schools were sometimes inappropriately hiring applicants before requesting background checks, auditors recommended that the department remind the schools of their obligation to request background checks promptly. When reviewed again, auditors found that progress had been made.

Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation: Selected Payroll Practices at the Long Island Region (Follow-Up Report) (2010-F-23)
In audit 2007-S-89, auditors examined the Long Island Regional Office’s payroll-related practices and found improvements were needed to ensure employees were paid only for time actually worked. For example, seasonal employees and their supervisors were not always required to sign the employees’ official time records, thus increasing the risk such records could be inaccurate or that the time worked was not authorized. When auditors followed up, they found that additional actions needed to be taken before the recommendations were fully implemented.

State University of New York: University at Stony Brook: Controls Over Selected Payroll Practices (Follow-Up Report) (2010-F-22)
In audit 2007-S-67, auditors identified significant control weaknesses in payroll practices. For example, because of delays in reporting payroll changes, terminated employees were able to obtain paychecks they were not entitled to and employees may have been overpaid through deliberate abuses. Auditors determined that a total of $414,236 in payroll overpayments were made during a single one-year period to 335 different individuals, and $234,254 in overpayments were outstanding. When reviewed again, auditors found that their recommendations had been implemented.

New York State Thruway Authority: Accuracy of Employee Retirement Reporting (Follow-Up Report) (2010-F-18)
In audit 2008-S-57, auditors examined the authority’s enrollment and reporting practices and identified a reporting error, which auditors recommended be corrected. When followed up, auditors found that the recommendation had been implemented.

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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