Albany Port District Commission

Internal Controls Over Financial Operations

The Albany Port District Commission was established in 1925 to develop port facilities on the Hudson River at the cities of Albany and Rensselaer. The Port manages commercial shipping activities as well as an industrial park. We audited the Portís system of internal controls over its financial operations and its annual certifications of compliance with the Stateís Internal Control Act for years ended March 31, 2003 and March 31, 2004. We found that the annual certifications were not fairly presented, as there were numerous unreported internal control weaknesses that we considered significant. These weaknesses were in the areas of Board oversight and governance, payroll, procurement and contracting, equipment and asset management, and budgeting and expenditure control. In particular, contracts were repeatedly awarded in a non-competitive manner by the Port.

We also questioned the appropriateness of certain payments made by the Port to, or on behalf of, the City of Albany. For example, the Port agreed to make certain capital improvements at a City-owned park. The improvements were financed primarily by a federal grant and bonds issued by the City of Albany Industrial Development Agency. The Port agreed to repay the bond principal and interest over a 30-year period and maintain the improvements over the same time period. These payments were expected to total about $300,000 a year. However, the Port realized no direct benefits from the capital improvements, as no Port facilities were constructed and no revenue was to be realized by the Port as a result of the improvements. We therefore questioned whether it was appropriate for the Port to agree to make these annual payments. We also questioned whether it was appropriate for the Port to purchase from the City of Albany, at a cost of $3 million, land that had been set aside by law for the Port and had been used by the Port for many years.

For a complete copy of Report 2005-S-47 click here.
For a copy of the 90-day response click here.