Friday, March 30, 2018
An agency may decline to acknowledge that requested records exist in response to a Freedom of Information Law request
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Internships will continue to be posted regularly to the Student Internship Portal until April 13, 2018.
Monday, March 26, 2018
Saturday, March 24, 2018
Ten Villages, Two Cities Cited in Latest Fiscal Stress Scoring
State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System has identified 10 villages and two cities in New York in some level of fiscal stress in 2017. The system evaluated all non-calendar year local governments and designated one village and one city in “significant fiscal stress,” four villages in “moderate fiscal stress” and five villages and one city as “susceptible to fiscal stress.”
“Our indicators show fiscal stress is relatively low among New York's villages,” said DiNapoli. “I continue to encourage local officials to be mindful about how practices today might impact budgetary solvency in the future. Our monitoring system helps keep local officials and the public informed on this important community issue each year, including the economic and demographic drivers of fiscal stress.”
DiNapoli’s office evaluated 529 villages, which predominantly have a fiscal year ending on May 31. The most recent round of scoring also assessed the 17 cities in New York with non-calendar fiscal years.
This is the fifth year DiNapoli’s office has assessed levels of fiscal stress in local governments. Using financial indicators that include year-end fund balance, cash position, short-term borrowing and patterns of operating deficits, DiNapoli’s monitoring system creates an overall fiscal stress score which ultimately drives final classifications.
For the fiscal year ending 2017, the city of Long Beach (Nassau Co.) and the village of Island Park (Nassau) were designated in “significant fiscal stress.”
The villages of Andover (Allegany), Ellenville (Ulster), Granville (Washington) and Valley Stream (Nassau) were listed in “moderate fiscal stress.” The city of Yonkers (Westchester) and the villages of Baldwinsville (Onondaga), Canisteo (Steuben), Catskill (Greene), Dering Harbor (Suffolk) and Walden (Orange) were designated as “susceptible to fiscal stress.”
The fiscal stress scores also show that in 2017:
In January, DiNapoli released fiscal stress scores for school districts. In September, his office will release scores for municipalities with a calendar-year fiscal year, which includes all counties, towns, 10 villages, and the majority of cities.
DiNapoli's office recently implemented system enhancements which were developed with direct input from local government and school district officials. The changes provide local officials with more easy-to-understand information that can help them address specific challenges facing their communities.
For a full list of villages and cities in fiscal stress, visit:
To search the complete list of fiscal stress scores, visit:
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Distinguishing between official acts and unofficial acts for the purposes of claiming qualified immunity from lawsuits in New York State courts
Review of decisions that are the product of compulsory arbitration are subject to stricter judicial scrutiny than decisions resulting from voluntary arbitration procedures
Berkley v New York City Dept. of Educ., 2018 NY Slip Op 01669, Appellate Division, First Department
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
When the board told her that it was "hesitant to approve her travel plans for an upcoming conference" Groening submitted a "notice of retirement" to take effect at the end of the following academic year.
Groening’s contract provided for ninety days of paid leave per year and a payout for any unused days when she retired and asked Groening for a report of the leave she had taken during the then current school year. Groening 's report indicated that her absences on leave, vacation, and business trips totaled twelve weeks. When the board told her that it was "hesitant to approve her travel plans for an upcoming conference" Groening submitted a "notice of retirement" to take effect at the end of the following academic year.
Deciding that it needed to clear up any discrepancies in Groening's leave records before the end of the following school year, the school board voted "to audit the district’s business office" in order to determine, among other things, any discrepancies in Groening's leave records before the end of the following school year."
FMLA provides that an eligible employee may claim up to twelve weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year in connection with, among other things, the employee's recovering from a serious health condition or to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition. Further, the Act prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who take FMLA leave, or otherwise interfering with their right to do so.
The federal district court, finding that Groening could not show she had suffered an adverse employment action as the result of her taking FMLA leave, granted the school district's motion for summary judgment and dismissed Groening's petition. Groening appealed.
Monday, March 19, 2018
It is legally possible to find "accidental results" flowing from "intentional causes" for the purposes of indemnification pursuant to the terms of an insurance policy
Saturday, March 17, 2018
Audits and examination reports issued during the week ending March 17, 2018 by NYS Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli
Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS): Financial Oversight of the Advantage After School Program (2016-S-39)
OCFS has some appropriate controls to limit program contract spending, including a maximum cost per child of $1,375 and a maximum allowable contract budget, which is calculated by multiplying providers’ maximum average daily attendance (MADA) by the $1,375 maximum per child. OCFS reimbursements to program providers did not exceed the maximum contract budget. However, there is a risk that providers can exceed the maximum cost per child if they serve significantly fewer children than their MADA but do not reduce their expenditures proportionally.
City University of New York (CUNY): Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC): Controls Over Bank Accounts (Follow-Up) (2015-S-93)
CUNY Central officials provided auditors a list of 23 bank accounts that they were aware of at BMCC. Seven of BMCC’s accounts were opened after CUNY’s bank authorization policy was established in 2008. However, CUNY did not have the required notification forms for one of these accounts. Auditors also identified two accounts that were not on CUNY’s list. These findings point to weaknesses in the monitoring of bank accounts, which increase the risk that BMCC personnel could conduct transactions using unauthorized accounts.
Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC): Generic PINs (2017-BSE7-01)
Auditors found DEC’s use of fuel cards does not comply with the Office of General Services’ Fuel Card Services Contract Guidelines, the State Vehicle Use Policy and DEC’s Policies and Procedures. DEC does not have sufficient controls in place to ensure all fuel purchases are appropriate. DEC officials have not implemented a previous comptroller’s recommendation to assign unique PINs to individual employees, consistent with the guidelines.
Department of Health (DOH): Nursing Home Surveillance (Follow-Up) (2017-F-12)
An initial audit issued in February 2016, found DOH generally met its obligations to conduct Standard Health and Complaint surveys of nursing homes in accordance with federal and state requirements, but its enforcement policies and procedures needed to be strengthened to better protect the health and well-being of nursing home residents. In a follow-up report, auditors found DOH officials addressed the problems identified in the initial audit, having implemented all four of the prior audit’s recommendations.
Department of Health: Medicaid Program: Managed Care Organizations (MCOs): Payments to Ineligible Providers (2016-S-59)
During the audit period, the DOH launched efforts to improve its ability to detect and prevent payments by MCOs to ineligible providers. Notwithstanding those efforts, however, auditors identified certain weaknesses that, if properly addressed, could help better detect and prevent improper payments to ineligible providers. Auditors determined MCOs improperly paid $50.3 million during the audit period.
State Education Department (SED): Universal Pre-Kindergarten Program (UPK): Monitoring of Health and Safety Requirements (Follow-Up) (2017-F-30)
An initial audit report issued in December 2016 found SED did not directly monitor UPK providers for health and safety. Instead, SED relied on the school district operating the UPK program, or the Office of Children and Family Services, to ensure that UPK providers were complying with health and safety requirements. In addition, auditors found a wide disparity in the way UPK providers were being monitored for health and safety. In a follow-up, auditors found SED officials have made some progress in addressing the issues identified in the initial audit.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA): New York City Transit: Operational Training and Medical Assessments of Train Crews (2016-S-26)
Auditors found MTA’s New York City Transit unit is not in compliance with the requirements of the Induction Training curriculum established for its train crews. This lack of compliance may be tied to poor outcomes. For instance, all four train operators in the audit sample who had five or more operating incidents during the audit period had a history of failing grades and/or tests and quizzes missing from their training files. Auditors also found: train operators and conductors are not always meeting or completing refresher training requirements; many of their required annual hearing tests were either done late or not at all; train crews not in compliance with medical assessment requirements; and there were inconsistencies with test scoring and file maintenance, including missing test files, ungraded tests, and missing attendance records.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority: Staten Island Railway (SIR): Operational Training and Medical Assessments of Train Crews (2017-S-71)
Auditors found SIR’s records were insufficient to document that training was satisfactorily completed. For a randomly selected sample of conductors who underwent Induction Training during the audit period, 61 percent of test papers were either not graded or missing. In addition, for the randomly selected sample of engineers, 81.7 percent of test papers for those newly hired and 41.7 percent of test papers for those promoted were either not graded or missing. Five of the ten conductors randomly sampled were required to take Book of Rules Refresher Training during the audit period. However, only two of the five had records that supported satisfactory completion of all exams. Auditors found similar results for the Signals Refresher Training, with only two of eight conductors having records to support satisfactory completion. Train crews were also not in compliance with medical assessment requirements.
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