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September 30, 2009



Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Audits

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

Hudson River Park Trust: West 30th Street Heliport: Safety and Security (Follow-Up Report) (2009-F-10)
Hudson River Park Trust is a public benefit corporation responsible for planning, developing, constructing, operating and maintaining a planned 550-acre park in New York City. The West 30th Street Heliport is located in the park. The heliport, which is managed by a private company pursuant to a lease agreement with Hudson River Park Trust, is used by sightseeing, corporate and charter helicopter carriers.

The New York State Anti-terrorism Preparedness Act of 2004 requires general aviation airports and heliports to file a security plan with the State Department of Transportation. Auditors examined the Heliport’s compliance with this plan as well as other safety and security-related practices, and found that certain improvements were needed. When auditors followed up on these matters with Hudson River Park Trust officials, they found that some progress had been made in implementing the audit's recommendations, but additional actions were still needed. Due to the sensitivity of the information, the detailed audit findings and recommendations were not included in the original or follow-up report.

Office of Mental Health: Rockland Psychiatric Center: Internal Controls Over Overtime Practices (Follow-Up Report) (2009-F-14)
Rockland Psychiatric Center provides community-and hospital-based mental health services. Auditors examined the controls over overtime at the Center and identified a number of weaknesses. For example, payments were sometimes made for overtime that was not properly documented and employees sometimes worked excessive stretches of overtime without the minimum eight-hour break required by center policy. Auditors recommended a number of improvements be made in the center’s controls over overtime. When auditors followed up on these matters, they found the center had made progress in implementing the audit's recommendations.

Office of Mental Health: Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Center: Internal Controls Over Overtime Practices (Follow-Up Report) (2009-F-15)
Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Center is one of three forensic psychiatric centers operated by the Office of Mental Health (OMH). Auditors examined the controls over overtime at the center and found that certain improvements were needed. In particular, payments were sometimes made for overtime that was not adequately documented, and proper time and attendance practices were not always followed. When auditors followed up on these matters with OMH, they found that OMH had made progress in implementing the audit's recommendations.

State Education Department: School District Compliance with RESCUE Act Provisions for Building Assessment and Planning (Follow-Up Report) (2009-F-19)
School districts are required by the 1998 RESCUE Act to perform periodic inspections of their school buildings, develop maintenance and capital plans for the buildings, and prepare an annual report card for district residents about building conditions. Auditors examined district compliance with these requirements at 50 selected school districts across the state and found that many of the districts did not fully comply with the requirements. For example, in 2005, 12 of the districts had no inspection documentation for some or all of their occupied buildings and 11 districts had not prepared the required capital plan. Auditors recommended that the State Education Department strengthen its monitoring of district compliance with RESCUE Act requirements. When auditors followed up on these matters, they found SED had made some progress in implementing the audit's recommendations.

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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