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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

State University of New York
College of Optometry
Selected Employee Travel Expenses


Issued: February 14, 2013
Link to full audit report 2012-S-148

Purpose
To determine whether the use of travel monies by selected government employees complied with rules and regulations and is free from fraud, waste and abuse.  The audit covers the period April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2011.

Background
New York State’s executive agencies spend between $100 million and $150 million each year on travel expenses.  These expenses, which are discretionary and under the control of agency management, include car rentals, meals, lodging, transportation, fuel, and incidental costs such as airline baggage and travel agency fees. As part of a Statewide initiative to determine whether the use of travel money by selected government employees was appropriate, we audited travel expenses for the highest-cost travelers in the State.  These employees incurred over $100,000 in travel expenses during the three year period ending March 31, 2011. One of these employees worked at the College of Optometry and had travel costs totaling $116,828.

Key Findings
We found that the selected employee was responsible for arranging travel for other College staff members, charging these travel expenses to his travel card.  Our examination found the expenses were documented and generally adhered to State travel rules and regulations. However, we found one instance where a purchase was made on the travel card for a purpose not relating to travel. SUNY Optometry paid $9,000 to the Intrepid Museum Foundation for an event that was not related to travel. SUNY Optometry travel guidelines states that such payments are not permissible.   According to a College official, the College used the card for this purpose as a contingency, because the vendor had not received the check issued for payment.

Key Recommendation

  • None

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest

State University of New York College at New Paltz- Selected Employee Travel Expenses (2012-S-140)
State University of New York College at Cobleskill – Selected Employee Travel Expenses (2012-S-143)
State University of New York College at Oneonta – Selected Employee Travel Expenses (2012-S-145)


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