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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Erie Community College – Board Oversight and Management of College Resources (2015M-212)


Released: January 13, 2016 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to assess Board oversight and management of College resources for the period September 1, 2013 through July 2, 2015.

Background

Erie Community College is located in Erie County and has three campuses, in the City of Buffalo, Town of Orchard Park and the Town of Amherst. The College, which has approximately 11,360 full-time-equivalent students, is governed by a Board of Trustees with nine appointed members and one elected student trustee. Budgeted appropriations for the 2014-15 fiscal year were $112 million.

Key Findings

  • The College entered into agreements with two closely affiliated but legally independent corporations, the ASC and the Foundation. However, the Board has provided little oversight over these contracts and has allowed College officials to blur the lines of separation by operating certain financial aspects of these entities as if they were one.
  • The President assumed the Board’s responsibility for establishing salaries and authorizing benefits for senior executives and was allowed to do so without adequate Board oversight.
  • The Board did not appropriately establish and monitor policies and procedures for the procurement of professional services.
  • The written agreements governing the relationship between the College and the affiliated entities were not sufficiently detailed to provide a means for the Board to evaluate the performance of the entities.

Key Recommendations

  • Ensure College officials maintain a separate and distinct relationship with the ASC and the Foundation at all times to ensure all three entities operate independently.
  • Authorize all salaries, compensation and fringe benefits provided to senior executives.
  • Procure professional services using a competitive method such as an RFP process and enter into written contracts with professionals to establish the services to be provided, the time frames for those services and the basis for compensation.
  • Ensure that written agreements with affiliated entities stipulate how performance will be measured and evaluated and establish clearly defined and measurable goals and objectives for evaluating the performance of affiliated entities.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email: localgov@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236