June 17, 2017

Selected reports and information published by New York State's Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli during the week ending June 17, 2017

Selected reports and information published by New York State's Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli during the week ending June 17, 2017

Click on text highlighted in color  to access the full report

Audits of State Departments and Agencies

The AIDS Institute has taken several steps to update its procedures to address problems with contractor cost claims that were identified prior to this audit. However, the institute needs to further improve its internal controls to provide effective oversight and monitoring, and ensure that claimed contractor expenses are program appropriate and consistent with contract requirements.

DOH is generally meeting its obligations for conducting background checks on unlicensed employees of nursing homes, adult care facilities (ACF), and home health care (HHC) providers, according to state requirements. However, auditors identified 24 criminal history record check applicants whose determination letters were not completed on time. As a result, the individuals could have been allowed to work for periods ranging from 2 months to as long as 28 months. Of these, auditors found only eight applicants (who were ultimately denied eligibility) actually worked on a provisional basis, for periods between 3 and 14 months while their background checks were pending.

The 80/20 program provides low-interest financing to multifamily rental developers who commit to designating at least 20 percent of a development's units to low-income households. Based on the rents charged and the regulatory agreements for our four sampled developments, auditors concluded that the proper numbers of affordable apartment units were made available to low-income tenants. However, auditors found higher earners with apartments and several areas that could use improvement.

An initial audit report issued in December 2015, identified $710,284 in rebate revenues from agreements with 114 drug manufacturers that were not credited to the state Department of Civil Service from Jan. 1, 2011 through Dec. 31, 2013. In a follow-up report, auditors found UHC officials made progress in addressing the issues identified in the initial audit. This included the remittance of $338,649 in drug rebate revenue to Civil Service. In addition, UHC officials agreed to remit another $67,386 in rebate revenues.

An initial audit report issued in November 2016, found that UHC did not remit $1,498,719 in drug rebate revenue to the Department of Civil Service as it was required to do during from Jan, 1, 2010 through Dec. 31, 2013. In a follow-up, auditors found UHC officials had remitted the rebate revenue to Civil Service.

Based on testing, auditors found the Port Authority complied with the terms related to base rent payments to the city. However, the Port Authority had not fully complied with the terms of the ancillary agreements, which included an obligation to provide information and support to the Airport Board.

For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2014, Elmcrest claimed $54,250 in ineligible costs for the rate-based preschool special education program that it operated. The ineligible costs included: $18,264 in personal service costs, including bonuses and employee fringe benefits; $16,578 in overstated expenses; $12,911 in improperly allocated costs; and $6,497 in other than personal service costs, including undocumented vehicle costs, ineligible consulting services costs and non-reimbursable auditing fees. Elmcrest did not disclose related-party transactions with two vendors as required.

An initial audit report issued in October 2015 found that for the period from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2016, the courts ordered the installation of 1,084 Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs) for offenders under the Probation Department's supervision. Auditors found only a small percentage of the IIDs were installed in the cars of persons cited for alcohol-related motor vehicle violations and that probation officers often did not provide sufficient oversight of DWI offenders. Auditors also found that referral of probation violators were not made to the appropriate courts and district attorneys as required. In a follow-up, auditors found that probation officials made considerable progress in correcting the problems that were identified. However, additional improvements are still needed.

Variety, a not-for-profit organization located in Syosset, is a provider of special education services. Variety offers a range of special education services and programs to children with disabilities from birth to eight years of age. For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2014, auditors identified $6,719 in other-than-personal-service costs that did not comply with the requirements for state reimbursement.

During 2016, the tax department processed almost 7.6 million refunds totaling over $9.6 billion. After the tax department processes refunds, DiNapoli's office is charged with serving as a second set of eyes to ensure that only proper refunds are paid. Auditors returned 12,335 refunds totaling almost $43.9 million to the department that it had approved for payments. DiNapoli's auditors found red flags and other questionable information that led them to determine that the refunds were fraudulent or inappropriate.

Auditors identified $1,224,077 in inappropriate claims. They also identified two high-dollar outlier claims that resulted in $2,633,204 in total savings. For these claims in particular, board staff members entered incorrect data in fields used to calculate the payment amount resulting in artificially higher amounts to be paid. Auditors also reviewed claims processed by the board on a post payment basis to identify potential duplicate payments. For calendar year 2016, they identified 210 potential duplicate payments totaling $344,000.

Municipal Audits

The board needs to improve its policies and procedures over credit card use and travel related expenditures to ensure that all such expenditures are adequately supported and for necessary district purposes. Credit card charges totaling $32,860 were either not adequately supported or did not comply with the district's purchasing policy. In addition, credit card charges for conferences totaling $6,185 were not supported by proof of attendance and district officials paid travel credit card charges for meals for individuals who were not authorized by the board to travel.

A total of $5,681 in documented collections received during the audit period had not been deposited into a court bank account. The justices did not provide adequate oversight of the clerks responsible for receiving, recording and reporting cash receipts, and did not compare manual cash receipt records to the bank deposits. Accurate and complete bail records were not maintained and bank reconciliations and accountability analyses were not performed. The justices did not establish policies and procedures for enforcing unresolved traffic tickets.

The board has not established an internal control environment that fosters compliance and transparency due to its lack of policies, guidelines and monitoring. For example, claims to be paid were not presented on an abstract, and board minutes did not indicate that the board authorized, via resolution, the payment of claims audited and reviewed. In addition, the district has not submitted its statutorily required financial statements to the Office of the State Comptroller.

The village accumulated significant fund balances without clear plans to use this money. Over the last three years, the general fund balance increased by 42 percent to $338,000, or 159 percent of actual expenditures, and the water fund balance increased by 58 percent to $238,700, or 240 percent of actual expenditures.

For access to state and local government spending, public authority financial data and information on 130,000 state contracts, visit Open Book New York. The easy-to-use website was created to promote transparency in government and provide taxpayers with better access to financial data.


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