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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Pocantico Hills Union Free School District – Management of Capital Project (2012M-40)


Released: August 24, 2012 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to examine management of the District's capital projects for the period July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2011.

Background

The Pocantico Hills Central School District (District) is located in the Village of Sleepy Hollow, in Westchester County. The District is governed by a Board of Education which comprises five elected members. The District's general fund budgeted expenditures for the 2011-12 fiscal year were $26 million.

Key Finding

  • District officials needed to issue change orders that significantly increased the scope and cost of the initial contracts awarded through the bid process, and did not bid this additional work even though it exceeded the statutory dollar thresholds. At the end of our fieldwork, the total changes to the four main construction contracts represented an increase of $1,690,794, or 18 percent, over the $9,510,323 million in original awards. Throughout the construction period, District officials awarded contracts for change orders based on the recommendation of the construction manager and the architect and approved by the Interim Superintendent and the Board. The District also received approval from the New York State Department of Education prior to awarding each of the change orders. However, based on a review of the bid documents provided by the District, the change orders varied significantly from the original plan and may have altered the essential identity or main purpose of the contract; therefore, they may have constituted new undertakings. Further, the aggregate change orders to each type of contract all exceeded GML bidding thresholds.

Key Recommendation

  • Ensure that capital project requirements and costs are properly planned before awarding project contracts, so as to minimize the need for change orders. Competitively bid any change orders in excess of the competitive bidding threshold that so vary from the original plan or so alter the essential identity or main purpose of the contract as to constitute a new undertaking.

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