July 30, 2022

Audits and reports issued by the New York State Comptroller during the week ending July 29, 2022

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced the audits listed below for New York State and New York City Departments and Agencies, Municipalities and School Districts were issued during the week ending July 29, 2022:

Click on the text highlighted in color to access the complete audit report.

School District Audits

On July 29, 2022, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced the following school district audits have been issued.

Bethlehem Central School District – In-School Internet Connectivity (Albany County) The district’s internet connectivity met the Federal Communications Commission’s recommended bandwidth of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) per 1,000 students, as guided by the New York State Education Department. When tested, the average wireless internet download speed was 142 Mbps.

Greater Amsterdam School District – Capital Project (Montgomery County) The board and district officials properly planned, authorized contracts, and accounted for the ongoing project. However, auditors found that while the business administrator maintained financial reports that documented the project’s budget-to-actual expenditures, she did not provide them to the board for review and the claims auditor did not audit and approve seven claims totaling $873,056 prior to payment.

Buffalo Collegiate Charter School – Credit Cards (Erie County) Credit card charges were not always properly approved or adequately supported. Without adequate support, officials could not demonstrate that all charges were for school purposes. Auditors reviewed 170 credit card charges totaling $128,070 and found supporting documentation, such as receipts, was not available for 66 charges totaling $23,376. The need or purpose was not documented for 72 charges totaling $50,989. The treasurer did not adequately review credit card charges in a timely manner. The treasurer reviewed credit card charges an average of 108 days after the credit card statement was paid. Auditors reviewed all 18 credit charges over $2,500 in our audit period totaling $70,337 and found no evidence that the treasurer pre-approved these charges as required by the policy.

Fabius-Pompey Central School District – Claims Auditing (Onondaga County) Auditors reviewed 100 claims totaling approximately $5.3 million and found that they were adequately documented and for appropriate purposes. However, the district needs to improve the claims audit process because some claims were not subject to an independent claims audit and some were not properly approved before they were paid. Twelve claims totaling approximately $3.3 million paid to the Onondaga-Cortland-Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) were inappropriately audited by a BOCES employee who functioned as the district’s claims auditor. The treasurer paid five claims totaling $11,692 without the required claims auditor’s certification and authorization.

Friendship Central School District – Fund Balance and Reserves (Allegany County) The board and district officials did not properly manage fund balance and reserves. As a result, real property taxes were higher than necessary. The board and district officials overestimated appropriations by a total of $2.3 million (8%) in the three fiscal years audited. This made it appear the district needed to use fund balance and reserves to close projected budget gaps. However, they were not used to fund operations. The board and district officials improperly restricted $246,000 in a debt reserve fund. The funds should be returned to the general fund. Officials also did not develop and adopt a comprehensive written multiyear financial plan. As a result, as of June 30, 2021, the recalculated surplus fund balance totaled $2.5 million, exceeding the statutory limit by 20 percentage points. 

 

Palmyra-Macedon Central School District – In-School Internet Connectivity (Wayne County The district’s internet connectivity met the Federal Communications Commission’s recommended bandwidth of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) per 1,000 students, as guided by the New York State Education Department. When tested, the average wireless internet download speed was 232 Mbps, and the average ethernet cable internet download speed was 564 Mbps.

Unadilla Valley Central School District – Non-Resident Special Education Student Tuition (Otsego County)  Officials did not establish nonresident tuition (NRT) rates for special education students in accordance with regulations. The district’s NRT rates exceeded the New York State Education Department’s maximum allowable rate during four of the past five school years. As a result, the district overcharged seven school districts by a total of $183,250.

Yorkshire-Pioneer Central School District – In-School Internet Connectivity (Cattaraugus County) The district’s Internet connectivity met the Federal Communications Commission’s recommended bandwidth of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) per 1,000 students, as guided by the New York State Education Department. When tested, the average wireless internet download speed was 134 Mbps and the average ethernet cable Internet download speed was 706 Mbps.

Municipal Audits

 On July 29, 2022 New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced the following local government audits have been issued. 

Town of Brookhaven Local Development Corporation – Project Approval and Monitoring (Suffolk County) The board did not properly approve and monitor projects and did not incorporate job creation and retention goals into each project’s resolution. Consequently, the board cannot determine whether the projects are meeting their intended purposes. While the board president, CEO and CFO questioned whether setting goals was practical, and said it was not legally required, the board should strive to ensure that town residents realize increased prosperity and economic benefit from the projects that the corporation approves. To do so, the board must establish measurable goals for all approved projects, monitor the projects to ensure these goals are met and establish written project approval and monitoring policies or procedures.

 

Livingston County Court and Trust (2022-C&T-4) Upon receiving notification of the impending review of court and trust funds, the treasurer and county clerk reconciled their records and found that the treasurer did not receive surplus money from a referee after the sale of foreclosed property on April 1, 2017, totaling $87,849. However, auditors were able to determine all money from the sale of the foreclosed property totaling $176,000 was paid directly to the lienholder. Auditors also found that the treasurer did not report all court and trust fund transactions as required. Specifically, the treasurer did not report surplus funds received and disbursed during 2017, totaling $23,461. Auditors found the records maintained by the county clerk and surrogate’s court were up to date and complete.

 

Utica Harbor Point Development Corporation – Budgeting and Board Oversight (Oneida County) The board and officials did not establish realistic budgets. Also, the board did not review periodic financial reports to monitor the budget and finances and did not establish a comprehensive written multiyear financial plan. The board adopted budgets that did not include realistic revenue and expense estimates, which caused funding gaps. As of Dec. 9, 2021, the corporation’s projected costs exceeded revenues by about $2.3 million. While the corporation received grant funds for two projects, officials relied on lines of credit (LOCs) to provide cash flow for several years. The corporation’s ability to pay off the LOCs is contingent on the sale of three properties, which officials plan to sell in 2022. However, the board has not developed alternative plans to satisfy the debt should the properties not sell.

 

Village of Bemus Point – Clerk-Treasurer (Chautauqua County) The clerk-treasurer did not properly deposit, record, report and disburse village funds and was arrested in February 2021 and charged with grand larceny, falsifying business records, forgery, and official misconduct. In December 2021, she pleaded guilty to petit larceny and paid restitution to the village. The board did not monitor the clerk-treasurer’s work, implement compensating controls, or audit the records as required. Specifically, the clerk-treasurer did not properly deposit, record or report taxes collected, issue duplicate receipts or maintain other adequate supporting documentation. The clerk-treasurer also did not file payroll tax reports or remit payments totaling $40,837 and, as a result, the village was assessed penalties and interest of $18,100.

 

Delaware County – Court and Trust Funds (2022-C&T-2) Auditors found the treasurer established adequate procedures, maintained appropriate records, and properly reported court and trust funds as prescribed by statute. Records maintained by the county clerk were generally up to date and complete and without any material discrepancies. Although the surrogate’s court clerk maintained copies of all court orders filed in her office, she did not make entries into a surrogate’s register to record money ordered to be paid into a court. As a result, the assets ordered to be paid into court and her records could not be used to verify that all court-ordered deposits had been properly received and deposited.


Track state and local government spending at Open Book New York. Under State Comptroller DiNapoli’s open data initiative, search millions of state and local government financial records, track state contracts, and find commonly requested data.



NYPPL's New York Public Personnel Law Handbooks are listed below and are available for purchase from BookLocker, Inc.

The Discipline Book - A concise guide to disciplinary actions involving public officers and employees in New York State set out as an e-book. For more about this electronic handbook, click HERE.

A Reasonable Disciplinary Penalty Under the Circumstances - The text of this publication focuses on determining an appropriate disciplinary penalty to be imposed on an employee in the public service in instances where the employee has been found guilty of misconduct or incompetence. For more information click HERE.

Disability Benefits for fire, police and other public sector personnel - an e-book focusing on retirement for disability under the NYS Employees' Retirement System, the NYS Teachers' Retirement System, General Municipal Law Sections 207-a/207-c and similar statutes providing benefits to employees injured both "on-the-job" and "off-the-job." For more information about this e-book click HERE.

The Layoff, Preferred List and Reinstatement Manual - This e-book reviews the relevant laws, rules and regulations, and selected court and administrative decisions. Click HERE for more information. 

 

July 29, 2022

Property belonging to a public entity may have been deposited with the New York State Comptroller as abandoned property pursuant to §1401 of the Abandoned Property Law

New York State's Abandoned Property Law provides that the Office of the State Comptroller is to receive unclaimed monies and other property deemed abandoned. A list of the names, the last known addresses of the entitled owners of this abandoned property and the source of such property delivered to the Comptroller is maintained by the Comptroller pursuant to §1401 of the Abandoned Property Law.

Some of the property deposited with Comptroller is the property of an individual while other property belongs to a public entity or a private business.

For example, Comptroller DiNapoli recently presented a member of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators with an unclaimed funds check for $841.98 at the Comptroller's School Safety Roundtable Discussion. Set out below are some of the data made available by the Comptroller to assist the owners of "abandoned property" reclaim such property, including public entities.

To check to see if your organization, or you or a family member, may have "abandoned property" being held by the State Comptroller's Office of Abandoned Property, visit Department of Audit and Controls' web site by clicking HERE and searching for the entities' or the person's name under the appropriate "search heading".

Listed below are notices of "abandoned property" posted on the Internet by the State Comptroller's Office of Abandoned Property naming a public entity as its rightful owner. Click on the text in color to retrieve a brief description of the item.

Received following from the State Comptroller on August 1, 2022:

More Than $1.5 Million in Lost Money Returned Daily

Staff from New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s office will attend community events this month to help residents search for lost and forgotten money, also known as unclaimed funds. DiNapoli oversees more than 46 million unclaimed funds accounts valued at $17.5 billion and wants to return the money to its rightful owners.

“So far this year, we’ve given back over $234 million in lost or forgotten money,” DiNapoli said. “This should motivate everyone to come out and search for money that may be waiting for them to claim. And you don’t have to limit your search to yourself, you can check for family members, friends, neighbors, churches, synagogues, mosques or any organization you care about and let them know that they may have money awaiting them. I want to get this money back where it belongs—in the hands of New Yorkers.”

The billions in unclaimed funds come from old bank accounts, utility deposits, uncashed checks, insurance claims, stocks and other sources that have been dormant for a number of years. Some accounts hold money that has been lost and forgotten since the 1940s.

Residents who cannot make it to the events can search for and claim their money by using the online claiming system or by calling 1-800-221-9311.

 

3 of 166 "County of" listed

[Search for the name of your particular organization]


COUNTY OF ERIE NY

DIVISION OF PURCHASING 1875 HARLEM RD BUFFALO NY 14212

CITIBANK NA (NYS)

 

 

 

 

COUNTY OF ESSEX NYS

PO BOX 217 PC67296 ELIZABETHTOWN NY 12932

STAPLES INC

 

 

 

 

COUNTY OF GENES

3837 WEST MAIN STREET ROAD BATAVIA NY 14020

UNITED MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTER

 

 3 of 675 "Town of" listed

[Search for the name of your particular organization]

 

TOWN OF AVA

PO BOX 68 AVA NY 13303

ONEIDA COUNTY COMMISSIONER OF FINANCE

 

 

 

 

TOWN OF AVON

27 GENESEE ST AVON NY 14414

W W GRAINGER INC

 

 

 

 

TOWN OF BABYLON

153 WEST MAIN STREET BABYLON NY 11702

NRG ENERGY INC

 

 

3 of 270 "Village of" listings

[Search for the name of your particular organization]

 

VILLAGE OF ALFRED WW

198 N MAIN ST ALFRED NY 14802

W W GRAINGER INC

 

 

 

 

VILLAGE OF ALLEGANY

106 E MAIN ST ALLEGANY NY 14706

RELX INC & AFFILIATES

 

 

 

 

VILLAGE OF AMITYVILLE

C/O ATTN DEIRDRE PARKER OFFICE HIGHWAY E MPLOYEES AMITYVILLE NY 11701

AFLAC OF NEW YORK

 

 

3 of 244 "SUNY" listings

[Search for the name of your particular organization]

 

 

SUNY 403 B PROGRAM

MOHAWK VALLEY CC 1101 SHERMAN DRIVE UTICA NY 13501

FIDELTY INVESTMENTS INSTITUTIONAL OPERATIONS CO

 

 

 

 

SUNY @ ALBANY

ATTN: K VACCARIELLO 1400 WASHI ALBANY NY 12222

VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC

 

 

 

 

SUNY ADIRONDACK

640 BAY RD QUEENSBURY NY 12804

 

 

 

 

3 of 26 "BOCES" listed

[Search for the name of your particular organization]

 

BOCES

CAYUGA-ONONDAGA BOARD OF COOPE PO BOX 45 1 SYRACUSE NY 13208

TIME WARNER CABLE INC

 

 

 

 

BOCES ADULT & CONTIN UING

0 WILSON ST GOUVERNEUR NY 13642

NIAGARA MOHAWK POWER CORP

 

 

 

 

BOCES BROOME TIOGA

36038 MAIN STREET BINGHAMPTON NY 13905

NCS PEARSON INC

 

 

3 of 8 "Union Free School District" listed

[Search for the name of your particular organization]

 

UNION FREE SCHOOL DI

480 CLAY PITTS RD EAST NORTHPORT NY 11731

HEWLETT PACKARD CO

 

 

 

 

UNION FREE SCHOOL DI

TOWN OF GREENBURGH BOARD OF ED 360 BROAD WAY HASTINGS NY 10706

PRUDENTIAL INSURANCE CO OF AMERICA

 

 

 

 

UNION FREE SCHOOL DIST 1

399 KNOLLWOOD RD APT 103 WHITE PLAINS NY 10607

AETNA LIFE INSURANCE & ANNUITY CO

 

3 of 7 "Central School District" listed

[Search for the name of your particular organization]

 

CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

NEWFIELD HIGH SCHOOL ATTN PRINCIPAL 145 MARSHALL DRIVE SELDEN NY 11784

AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

 

 

 

 

CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT #2

BEDFORD ROAD POCANTICO HILLS NORTH TARRYTOWN NY 10591

FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF NORTH TARRYTOWN

 

 

 

 

CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT 1

TOWNS OF PHILLIPSTOWN & PUTNAM 289 291 M AIN MALL POUGHKEEPSIE NY 12601

SPRINT NEXTEL CORP

 

3 of 14 "CSEA" listed

[Search for the name of your particular organization]

 

CSEA METROPOLITAN REGION 2

125 MAIDEN LANE NEW YORK NY 10038

NATIONWIDE MUTUAL INSURANCE

 

 

 

 

CSEA PORT JEFFERSON VILLAGE

5 HEARTH CT CORAM NY 11727

SUFFOLK FEDERAL CREDIT UNION

 

 

 

 

CSEA UNIT 7910

405 UNION AVE ATTN FAITH LUMPK NEW WINDSOR NY 12553

VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC

 

3 of 3 "United University Professions" listed

[Search for the name of your particular organization]

 

UNITED UNIVERSITY PROFESSIONS

PO BOX 15143 ALBANY NY 12212

ING LIFE INSURANCE & ANNUITY CO

 

 

 

 

UNITED UNIVERSITY PROFESSIONS

47 SAUNDERS ROAD BALLSTON LAKE NY 12019

ENTERPRISE HOLDINGS INC

 

 

 

 

UNITED UNIVERSITY PROFESSIONS

526 LEE ENTRANCE SU UB COMMONS BUFFALO NY 14228

STAPLES INC

 

 


 

July 28, 2022

Silence in a collective bargaining agreement negotiated pursuant to Civil Service Law Article 14, the Taylor Law, does not infer a right or benefit

New York State's Court of Appeals [NYCA] accepted certification of questions submitted to it by the United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit [USCA] concerning the vesting of lifetime rights to retirement benefits by public employees of the State as the employer. 

Answering the first part of USCA's first certified question, NYCA responded that "New York's contract law does not recognize ... inferences" of vested lifetime rights to retiree benefits from silence and that "[a]bsent such inferences, none of the Collective Bargaining Agreement [CBA] provisions identified establish a vested right to lifetime fixed premium contributions, either singly or in combination." NYCA then declined "to determine whether the CBA's text is ambiguous." *

Considering the guidance provided by NYCA, USCA said that it concluded that the federal district court "did not err in granting summary judgment to the State respondents on both claims," explaining that "The New York Court of Appeals held as a matter of state law that the CBA provisions at issue cannot unambiguously establish a vested lifetime right to fixed premium contributions, so the breach of contract claim cannot succeed without the consideration of extrinsic evidence."

USCA further held that the CBA provisions at issue were not ambiguous regarding the establishment of such a vested right, and therefore "consideration of extrinsic evidence is not permissible".

On July 27, 2022, USCA handed down following decisions addressing this matter.

Click on the numbers highlighted in color to access the text of the decision.

18-3221

New York State Court Officers Association v. Hite

07-27-2022

SUM

 

18-3151

New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association, Inc. v. The State of New York

07-27-2022

SUM

 

18-3220

Kreh v. Cuomo

07-27-2022

SUM

 

18-3142

The New York State Law Enforcement Officers Union v. The State of New York

07-27-2022

SUM

 

18-3066

The New York State Police Investigators Association v. The State of New York

07-27-2022

SUM

 

18-3183

Police Benevolent Association v. The State of New York

07-27-2022

SUM

 

18-3140

Spence v. State of New York

07-27-2022

SUM

 

18-3122 (L)

Brown v. State of New York

07-27-2022

SUM

 

18-3172

Roberts v. The State of New York

07-27-2022

SUM

 

18-3049

The Police Benevolent Association of the New York State Troopers, Inc. v. The State of New York

07-27-2022

SUM

* See 36 N.Y.3d 935; 38 N.Y.3d 1. 

July 27, 2022

Challenging the removal, and the subsequent denial of an application for reinstatement, of a member of a school board

In this ruling Commissioner of Education Betty A. Rosa consolidated two separate appeals brought by a former member of a school board [Petitioner] in which similar issues of law and fact were involved. 

The first appeal concerned Petitioner's efforts seeking a stay her removal from the board pursuant to Education Law §1709(18) while the second appeal concerned Petitioner's seeking reinstatement to the board following her removal from the school board after being found guilty of two charges filed against her.*

With respect to Petitioner's efforts to "stay her removal from the board," Petitioner sought to have "the removal hearing heard by the Commissioner rather than the board" or, in the alternative, that the Commissioner's issuing an order directing the recusal of the school board president. Petitioner's requests were both denied and following an administrative hearing, the Petitioner was removed from her position on the board.

Regarding Petitioner's challenging her removal from the board and her seeking reinstatement in the instant consolidated proceeding, after addressing two procedural matters, the Commissioner considered  the merits of Petitioner's appeal. In so doing, the Commissioner noted that "in an appeal to the Commissioner, a petitioner has the burden of demonstrating a clear legal right to the relief requested and establishing the facts upon which he or she seeks relief."

With respect to the charges of “official misconduct” served on Petitioner, the Commissioner determined  that the two allegations of such misconduct met the standard for official misconduct set out in Education Law §1709(18). Such misconduct, said the Commissioner, constituted "wrongdoing committed in [Petitioner's] capacity as a school officer," which the Commissioner characterized as "quintessential" official misconduct.

The Commissioner found that the record supported the school board’s determination that Petitioner engaged in official misconduct, noting that board members “have a fiduciary obligation to act constructively to achieve the best possible governance of the school district” and Petitioner's actions in this instance "violated this duty."

Further, noted the Commissioner, official misconduct within the meaning of Education Law §1709(18) "is not dependent upon a violation of statute or district policy," citing 61 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 18,116 and other Decisions of the Commissioner of Education.

*  The penalties imposed: The board [a] admonished Petitioner for the misconduct alleged in Charge One, improperly disclosing confidential information, and [b] determined that the misconduct alleged in Charge Two, official misconduct, warranted her removal.

Click HERE to access the text of the Commissioner's decision.

 

July 26, 2022

Statements made by a public employee in his "official capacity" in the course of an investigation by public agencies are not protected by the First Amendment

An employee of New York City's Department for Citywide Administrative Services [Plaintiff] alleged that he was terminated from his position because he provided "unfavorable statements to investigators" during interviews concerning the City’s involvement in certain transactions made during his tenure. These transactions had been the subject of multiple inquiries and investigations by various New York City and federal agencies. 

Federal district court granted the City’s motion for summary judgment, concluding that Plaintiff's statements made in the course of the investigative interviews were made in his capacity of his being an employee of the City rather than as a private citizen. The court said that [1] such statements "were not protected by the First Amendment" and [2] the Plaintiff "failed to show that a causal connection existed between his cooperation with investigators and his later discharge." 

Noting that to prevail on a First Amendment retaliation claim the plaintiff must establish that his protected speech was a but-for cause of some adverse employment action, the Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court's ruling, explaining that it found that "no reasonable juror could find that [Plaintiff's] testimony was the but for cause of his termination". 

The decision is posted on the Internet at https://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isysquery/6b8ab6af-1174-4152-a64a-a1138649334e/3/doc/21-925_so.pdf#xml=https://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isysquery/6b8ab6af-1174-4152-a64a-a1138649334e/3/hilite/

 

July 25, 2022

Audits and reports issued by the New York State Comptroller during the week ending July 22, 2022

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced the following audits were issued for State Departments and Agencies, Municipalities and School Districts during the week ending July 22, 2022.

Click on the text highlighted in color to access the complete audit report.

State and New York City Audits

The Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Operations (Follow-Up) (2022-F-4)
The Division of Military and Naval Affairs (DMNA) manages New York State’s military forces, which are composed of the New York Army National Guard, the New York Air National Guard, the New York Naval Militia, and the New York Guard. An audit issued in 2020 found numerous weaknesses in DMNA’s internal controls to ensure that state assets were appropriately managed and safeguarded. In a follow-up audit, auditors found that DMNA has made significant progress in addressing the issues identified in the initial audit, implementing all nine recommendations that were made.

 

State Education Department: Oversight of Pupil Transportation Services (Follow-Up) (2022-F-5)
Approximately 2.3 million children are transported to school daily across the state, with one third riding School District-owned buses, one third riding contracted buses, and the remaining third utilizing public transportation. The New York State Education Law requires the State Education Department to take steps to ensure that school bus drivers, monitors, and attendants are qualified and properly trained. A 2020 audit found that the Department could improve its efforts to monitor
School Districts’ compliance with its requirements and, consequently, did not have assurance that drivers, monitors, and attendants across the state were qualified and had completed required training. The follow-up audit found that Department officials made limited progress in addressing the issues identified in the initial audit report.

 

NYC Department of Transportation: Street Construction-Related Permits 2020-N-6
The NYC Department of Transportation issues 150 different types of sidewalk and roadway construction permits that cover activities such as street openings, sidewalk construction and installation of canopies over sidewalks. DOT Highway Inspections and Quality Assurance (HIQA) is the agency’s enforcement unit and conducts construction site inspections to ensure permittees comply with the laws, regulations, and permit specifications and stipulations. Auditors determined that DOT did not always ensure that permittees were in compliance with street permit requirements.

 

Department of Taxation and Finance - Collection of Petroleum Business Tax and Motor Fuel Excise Tax (Follow-Up) 2021-F-30
An audit issued in 2020 looked at the systems and practices that the Department of Taxation and Finance put in place to allow it to appropriately collect Petroleum Business Tax and Motor Fuel Excise Tax, as they are required to do by law. The audit uncovered weaknesses in the Department’s efforts to appropriately collect taxes and suggested recommendations for how the Department could improve oversight of distributors and tax collection processes. In a follow-up, auditors found the Department has made significant progress in addressing the issues identified in the initial report, implementing both recommendations that were made.

 

United Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County, Inc. – Compliance With the Reimbursable Cost Manual
United Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County, Inc. (CPN) is a State Education Department (SED)-approved, non-profit special education provider located in Roosevelt. Among other programs, CPN provides preschool education services to young children with disabilities. CPN is reimbursed for these services through rates set by SED. Auditors looked at the fiscal year ended
June 30, 2018, and found several issues with CPN’s reporting, including nearly $160,000 in ineligible costs reported by CPN on its Consolidated Fiscal Reports.

 

All My Children Day Care — Compliance With the Reimbursable Cost Manual
All My Children Day Care (AMC) is a New York City-based not-for-profit organization authorized by SED to provide Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT) services to young children with disabilities. AMC also operated other programs, including the New York City Administration for Children’s Services’ Early Learn program. Auditors found that on its annual Consolidated Fiscal Reports, AMC failed to provide certain key documents it should have retained to support the expenses claimed on its annual CFRs, including over $3 million in unsupported costs for fiscal year 2014-15.

 

Municipal Audits

Finger Lakes Horizon Economic Development Corporation – Revolving Loan Fund Program (2022M-36)

The board did not properly manage and monitor the revolving loan fund program. As a result, the board cannot ensure the loan proceeds were used to further the corporation’s mission. Revolving loan fund activity was not adequately monitored to ensure loan recipients’ performance goals were achieved. Officials requested follow-up information from loan recipients to verify job creation/retention goals but did not enforce these goals if not achieved. No practices were in place to ensure penalties were accessed when warranted and no formal written policies and procedures were in place for officials to monitor whether loan disbursements were used for their intended purposes. Clear, written guidance was not developed for loan project eligibility, how loan applications should be reviewed or approved, confirming loan funds were used for approved purposes and goals, or how collections should be enforced.

 

Village of Hewlett Neck – Financial Management (2022M-35)

The board did not adopt realistic budgets or monitor and effectively manage fund balance. Revenues were underestimated by a total of $334,095 and appropriations were overestimated by a total of $171,095 from 2017-18 through 2020-21. As a result of the village officials’ budgeting practices, officials collected a four-year total of $505,187 more than necessary in taxes and maintained an excessive level of surplus fund balance in the general fund from 2017-18 through 2020-21, ranging between $364,415 in 2017-18 (100% of the ensuing year’s budget), and $445,858 in 2019-20 (109% of the ensuing year’s budget).

 

Town of Lansing – Information Technology (2022M-66)

Town officials did not ensure IT systems were adequately secured and protected against unauthorized use, access, and loss. In addition to sensitive IT control weaknesses that were communicated confidentially to town officials, auditors found the town had seven unneeded network user accounts and did not create adequate written IT policies for network user access, online banking, and breach notification. The board did not require IT security awareness training for computer users.

 

City of Poughkeepsie Industrial Development Agency – Project Approval and Monitoring (2021M-168)

The City of Poughkeepsie Industrial Development Agency (CPIDA) Board did not properly evaluate and approve projects and monitor the performance of businesses that received financial benefits. Specifically, the board did not have a process to adequately oversee and monitor CPIDA projects. As a result, projects were missing applications, cost-benefit analyses, project agreements, and uniform tax exemption policies. The board cannot verify two projects’ self-reported and calculated revenues upon which their payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) are based on. These projects have 99-year PILOT agreements. CPIDA officials did not ensure that projects were assessed late payment penalties totaling $30,664. 

 

School District Audits

Genesee Valley Board of Cooperative Educational Services – Purchase Cards (2022M-27)
While the 198 BOCES purchase card charges reviewed were adequately supported and for valid purposes, only one was properly approved. The purchasing agent did not approve 197 purchases totaling approximately $46,000 before goods or services were obtained.

Genesee Valley Board of Cooperative Educational Services – Reserve Funds (2022M-39)
While the board and BOCES officials properly established reserve funds, they did not transparently fund the reserves or use or maintain reserve funds at reasonable levels. The board and officials used unnecessarily restricted funds that could have been refunded to school districts and overfunded two reserves totaling $1.9 million. Officials could not demonstrate the balances in the four remaining reserves, totaling approximately $800,000, were needed or reasonable and did not adopt a written reserve fund policy.

Ogdensburg City School District – Medicaid Reimbursements (2022M-52)
The district did not maximize Medicaid reimbursements by submitting claims for all eligible Medicaid services provided. Claims were not submitted and reimbursed for 1,365 eligible Medicaid services provided totaling $65,254, which resulted in the district not realizing $32,627 in revenue. The district lacked adequate procedures to ensure that Medicaid claims were submitted in a timely manner, necessary documentation requirements were met, and disallowed claims were reviewed and resubmitted when appropriate.

Otselic Valley Central School District – Procurement (2022M-58)
District officials did not always seek competition to procure goods and services not subject to competitive bidding. Out of nine purchases under the competitive bidding threshold reviewed totaling $109,671 and two professional service contracts totaling $35,038, officials did not seek competition for a transportation efficiency study ($32,500), purchases of ice melt ($10,845) and information technology equipment ($8,512), or for the district’s attorney that was paid $21,038 during the audit period. District officials may have saved $13,781 on fuel costs had they been able to use state contracts. Procurement policies and procedures were inadequate and did not help ensure officials sought competition for goods and services.

Town of Webb Union Free School District – Financial Management (2022M-53)
The board and district officials did not adopt realistic budgets and did not properly manage fund balance. The board consistently overestimated appropriations in the 2018-19 through 2020-21 budgets by a total of $3.7 million (16%) and appropriated fund balance totaling $3.5 million that was not needed. Officials improperly overstated fiscal year-end encumbrances by approximately $974,000 from 2018-19 through 2020-21. When unused appropriated fund balance and invalid encumbrances are added back to surplus fund balance, it increased to approximately 26%, as of
June 30, 2021, exceeding the 4% statutory limit. Despite reporting excess surplus fund balance, the board increased the real property tax levy by 6.8% from 2017-18 through 2021-22 and levied more taxes than needed to fund operations.

West Islip Union Free School District – Financial Management (2022M-40)
The board appropriated fund balance that was not needed to fund operations and was not transparent when funding reserves. The board adopted budgets that overestimated appropriations by $24.6 million, or approximately 5.2% over a four-year period. The board annually appropriated fund balance that was not needed to pay operational expenses and made year-end unbudgeted transfers to reserves to stay within the statutory surplus fund balance limit. The board did not properly establish the workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance reserves which are also overfunded, having enough money to pay the average annual expenses for eight and 51 years respectively. The board and officials’ budgeting practices and management of fund balance and reserves resulted in levying more taxes then were needed to fund operations.

###

Track state and local government spending at Open Book New York. Under State Comptroller DiNapoli’s open data initiative, search millions of state and local government financial records, track state contracts, and find commonly requested data.

# # #

NYPPL's New York Public Personnel Law Handbooks are listed below and are available for purchase from BookLocker, Inc.

The Discipline Book - A concise guide to disciplinary actions involving public officers and employees in New York State set out as an e-book. For more about this electronic handbook, click HERE.

A Reasonable Disciplinary Penalty Under the Circumstances - The text of this publication focuses on determining an appropriate disciplinary penalty to be imposed on an employee in the public service in instances where the employee has been found guilty of misconduct or incompetence. For more information click HERE.

Disability Benefits for fire, police and other public sector personnel - an e-book focusing on retirement for disability under the NYS Employees' Retirement System, the NYS Teachers' Retirement System, General Municipal Law Sections 207-a/207-c and similar statutes providing benefits to employees injured both "on-the-job" and "off-the-job." For more information about this e-book click HERE.

The Layoff, Preferred List and Reinstatement Manual - This e-book reviews the relevant laws, rules and regulations, and selected court and administrative decisions. Click HERE for more information. 


CAUTION

Subsequent court and administrative rulings, or changes to laws, rules and regulations may have modified or clarified or vacated or reversed the decisions summarized here. Accordingly, these summaries should be Shepardized® or otherwise checked to make certain that the most recent information is being considered by the reader.
THE MATERIAL ON THIS WEBSITE IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY. AGAIN, CHANGES IN LAWS, RULES, REGULATIONS AND NEW COURT AND ADMINISTRATIVE DECISIONS MAY AFFECT THE ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS LAWBLOG. THE MATERIAL PRESENTED IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE AND THE USE OF ANY MATERIAL POSTED ON THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.
Consistent with the Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations, the material in this blog is presented with the understanding that neither the publisher nor members of the staff are providing legal advice to the reader and in the event legal or other expert assistance is needed, the reader is advised to seek such advice from a competent professional.