New York City Department of Environmental Protection

 

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Office of the New York State Comptroller

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

New York City Department of Environmental Protection
Controls Over Computers (Issued 1/10/12)


Purpose
To determine whether computers are adequately controlled and accounted for.  

Background
The New York City Department of Environment Protection (Department) protects the environmental health, welfare, and natural resources of New York City and its residents. As of November 30, 2010, the Department had 5,822 full time employees in 20 separate bureaus that each have a unique role in carrying out the Department’s responsibilities. The Department has spent considerable resources on the purchase of computers and computer-related equipment, including $10.9 million spent between July, 1, 2009 and October 30, 2010 according to Department records.

Key Findings

  • The Department does not maintain comprehensive inventory records, nor does it conduct a periodic physical inventory or routinely tag this equipment to identify it as Department property.
  • At the time of our field visits, Department officials were unable to locate 10 percent of the 200 computers we selected for verification – although they subsequently located all but one. Because of the time that had elapsed we cannot be assured that these computers were actually being used by Department staff for appropriate activities at the time of our visit.
  • Of the 199 computers eventually located, 36 (18 percent) were not being used, but were found in storage – many still in their original packing. The unused computers cost over $25,000.

Key Recommendations

  • Focus increased attention on ensuring that non-capital assets such as computers are protected from loss, theft or misuse by:
    • requiring that all such equipment be appropriately marked to identify  ownership;
    • maintaining an appropriate inventory system that establishes responsibility and  accountability for the assets by denoting the location of each item and the employee to whom it is assigned;
    • monitoring the accuracy of, and compliance with, the system through periodic tests and physical inventories.

Link to full audit report (2010-N-7)
Link to the 90-day response

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest
None


State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: John Buyce
Phone:(518) 474-3271; Email: StateGovernmentAccountability@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236