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July 1, 2013

 

Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced today the following audits have been issued:

Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, Violations of Law, Conflicts of Interest and Other Improprieties at the Department of Correctional Services' Food Production Center (Follow-Up) (2012-F-6)
In a 2010 report, auditors found the head of the center and his staff solicited donations from vendors for annual picnics and parties, which resulted in staff improperly attending these events free of charge. In addition, center management directed unspent donations from these vendors to be used for gifts for staff and other items. In return, the favored vendors were awarded millions of dollars in state business each year. Following up, auditors found DOCCS officials have made progress in correcting the problems identified in the initial report.

Department of Environmental Conservation, Selected Aspects of the Dam Safety Program (Follow-Up) (2013-F-4)
A 2008 audit report examined the actions DEC took to correct conditions at deficient dams. Officials had been slow to compel dam owners to correct the problems identified and its policy for inspection frequency was not consistent with its actual practice. Officials also did not require owners to submit emergency action plans to prevent or mitigate the adverse consequences of a dam failure. DEC officials made substantial progress in correcting the problems identified in the initial report. However, additional improvements are still needed.

New York State Health Insurance Program Payments to John T. Mather Memorial Hospital (Follow-Up) (2013-F-12)
In a previous report, auditors determined that Empire BlueCross BlueShield Empire lacked adequate policies and procedures to ensure that payments for certain special items claimed by Mather were appropriate. Empire’s agreement with the hospitals network did not define the amount hospitals could bill for special items. As a result, Mather substantially marked-up the amounts claimed for certain items, and Empire paid these excessive amounts. Following up, Empire and the network have amended their agreement to include language that prescribes the basis of payment for special items, limiting the amount the hospitals can bill and requiring hospitals to provide supporting documentation upon request.

Statewide Travel Audits:
As part of a statewide initiative to determine whether the use of travel money by selected government employees was appropriate, auditors looked at travel expenses for the highest-cost travelers in the state for the following state entities:

Department of Labor, Selected Employee Travel Expenses (2012-S-75)
Auditors examined the travel costs of one Albany-based Department employee whose long-term assignment to a New York City work location resulted in travel costs exceeding $100,000. In total, auditors examined $156,124 in travel costs associated with this employee's assignment, finding there was a lack of documentation to establish whether the official station of the selected employee was in the best interest of the state. DOL may also have incorrectly failed to report taxable travel expenses to federal and state taxing authorities for 2010 and 2011. The matter is still being examined by the Comptroller's office to determine if further corrective action is needed.

Office of Mental Health, Selected Employee Travel Expenses (2012-S-76)
Auditors examined the travel costs of one office employee whose expenses exceeded $100,000. In total, we examined $121,697 in travel costs associated with this one employee. Most of the expenses auditors examined were appropriate. However, auditors found OMH did not maintain sufficient records of the employee’s fleet vehicle usage to ensure the vehicle was used appropriately.

Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, Selected Employee Travel Expenses (2012-S-78)
Twenty-three Department of Corrections and Community Supervision employees were selected for audit. The 23 employees’ travel costs totaled $1,663,939, which auditors found adhered to state travel rules and regulations. Officials could not locate 66 vouchers totaling $9,326; therefore auditors could not audit these expenses. DOCCS officials believe the vouchers were inadvertently destroyed.



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