Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Division of Homeland Security
and Emergency Services
Examination of Superstorm Sandy Expenses
(Issued: 3/21/2014)


Purpose

As part of a series of examinations of Agency responses to Superstorm Sandy (Sandy), we sought to determine if the Division of Homeland and Security Services (DHSES) conducted appropriate procurements, paid appropriate prices, and received the quality and quantity of lights, heaters and generators it procured during its response to Superstorm Sandy.


Background

As part of its response to the Sandy disaster, DHSES paid $1.17 million for 1,000 portable Pelican LED lights, 1,000 portable heaters, and 811 generators to ensure polling stations were operational on Election Day. After the election was over, DHSES distributed some of this equipment to additional locations (e.g., firehouses) for other Sandy relief efforts.


Key Findings

We found DHSES did not maintain sufficient records to show it received all the lights, heaters and generators it paid for or to adequately support the distribution of that equipment. We also found DHSES did not effectively account for the lights, heaters, or generators prior to distribution, sufficiently track their location during the emergency, or develop a plan to recover them until after the equipment was distributed. Then, contrary to the plan to recover all lights, heaters and generators, DHSES sought to recover only the generators.

As a result, of the $1.17 million in equipment in our review, DHSES paid approximately $562,000 for equipment that was either: (i) never received, (ii) disposed of in a manner contrary to the State Finance Law, or (iii) was not recovered. This includes approximately $229,000 for 637 lights, $73,000 for 1,000 heaters, and at least $260,000 for 246 generators. We have reasonable assurance DHSES has possession of the remaining 363 lights and 565 generators.


Key Recommendations

  • Maintain appropriate documentation to support equipment procurement and receiving.
  • Develop a plan to properly account for, track, recover and/or dispose of all equipment/commodities purchased during future emergencies.
  • Recover outstanding generators or seek reimbursement for items not returned.
  • Determine if DHSES received all of the lights purchased for Sandy relief efforts.  Recoup all payments made for lights not delivered.
  • Reassess the decision not to recover lights for use in future emergencies and take action as appropriate.


For a complete copy of the Report 2013-0003-01, click here.


Division of Contracts and Expenditures
Bernard J. McHugh, Director of State Expenditures

Phone: (518) 474-4868 Email: stexpend@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Contracts and Expenditures
110 State Street, 10th Floor; Albany, NY 12236