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Saturday, March 16, 2013

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s audit of Mill Neck Manor reports the facility overcharged the State more than $280,000



New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s audit of Mill Neck Manor reports the facility overcharged the State more than $280,000

An audit report released by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli on March 14, 2013 reports that the Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf, a Nassau County provider of special education services for children with hearing disabilities, overcharged the State Department of Education* [SDE] more than $280,000, including charges for extra salary and benefits for the school’s Executive Director.

Mill Neck, part of the larger Mill Neck Family of Organizations, claimed $64,817 from the State for salary paid to its Executive Director, Mark Prowatzke, that should have come from elsewhere in the organization.  Auditors also identified $7,688 in vacation costs that were claimed for reimbursement, but were not paid by the school to its employees.

DiNapoli recommendations included that:
 
1. SDE review the inappropriate and unsupported expenses and take action to recover such reimbursed expenses; and

2. Mill Neck School should not charge costs to the program that are not in compliance with the State Education Department’s Reimbursable Cost Manual (Manual).

3. Explain Manual requirements to staff involved in preparing the Consolidated Fiscal Reports and the cost reimbursement processes.

A copy of the audit report is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.osc.state.ny.us/audits/allaudits/093013/11s40.pdf

DiNapoli has identified other fraud and improper use of funds in a recent series of audits of special education providers. There have been several criminal referrals, felony arrests, criminal convictions and hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution made as a result of the audits. In total, 30 special education contractors have been or are being audited.

The Comptroller's recent audit of SED’s fiscal and program oversight of special education providers found that the agency has not conducted any on-site provider audits since 2007. A summary of key findings in this audit report, which was issued on December 18, 2012, is posted on the Internet at:http://osc.state.ny.us/audits/allaudits/093013/12s103.htm. The link to the full text of the December 2012 audit report, which is posted on the Internet, is: Link to full audit report (2012-S-103)

* SDE oversees special education programs for students with disabilities between the ages of 3 and 21. In addition to services provided by local school districts, these programs include services delivered to about 75,000 students by more than 300 for-profit and not-for-profit entities at an annual state cost of $1.3 billion.

Handbooks focusing on State and Municipal Public Personnel Law continue to be available for purchase via the links provided below:

The Discipline Book at http://thedisciplinebook.blogspot.com/

A Reasonable Penalty Under The Circumstances at http://nypplarchives.blogspot.com

The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

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