Oversight of Weights and Measures Programs (Follow-Up)

Issued Date
July 29, 2019
Agency/Authority
Agriculture and Markets, Department of

Objective

To determine the extent of implementation of the four recommendations included in our initial audit report, Oversight of Weights and Measures Programs (Report 2016-S-98).

About the Program

The Department of Agriculture and Markets (Department) oversees the inspections of all commercial devices used to measure commodities sold on the basis of weight, volume, or size to ensure accuracy of measurement; packaged goods to ensure the accuracy of product contents indicated on labels; and gasoline and diesel fuels sold for use in motor vehicles to ensure quality standards are met and labeling is accurate. The Department’s Bureau of Weights and Measures (Bureau) shares inspection responsibility with 60 municipal weights and measures offices. Generally, the municipalities perform inspections within their jurisdictions, while the Bureau performs inspections that require special equipment or expertise. The Department supervises municipal activities; provides training to municipalities; assists municipal officials when requested; and develops regulations, procedures, and guidelines to ensure uniformity in the conduct of the inspections and the enforcement of the law and regulations. Municipalities are required to maintain documentation supporting their program activities and to submit an annual report detailing their results (e.g., devices inspected, pass/fail testing results). The Department uses several databases to collect data for monitoring and tracking purposes, including to review municipalities’ activities, identify improvement opportunities, and inform municipalities of certain quality failures for follow-up.

Our initial report, issued on December 1, 2017, identified systemic issues with the quality of the data the Department relies on to administer the State’s weights and measures program. The Bureau did not have written procedures for standards of quality control or data utilization for its databases, or a process for verifying data entry. Additionally, not all municipalities completed their mandated annual inspections, and municipalities reported that they needed training focused on reporting, workload prioritization, and record keeping to help them perform their duties more effectively. Furthermore, site visits to seven municipalities found most of them did not complete all their mandated annual inspections.

Key Finding

We found the Department made significant progress addressing the problems we identified in the initial audit report. Of the four prior audit recommendations, two were implemented and two were partially implemented.

Key Recommendation

Officials are given 30 days after the issuance of the follow-up report to provide information on any actions that are planned to address the unresolved issues discussed in the report.

Brian Reilly

State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Brian Reilly
Phone: (518) 474-3271; Email: [email protected]
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236