New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced the following school audits have been issued.
District officials did not ensure online banking access was limited to board-authorized users because no one reviewed online banking users’ access and permissions. District officials also did not monitor online banking transactions. As a result, the risk that the district may become the victim of a cybercrime and experience financial losses is heightened. Of the district’s 10 online banking users, six were not authorized to conduct online banking and were inappropriately provided with access. Five of the six users not authorized to conduct online banking and two others inappropriately had administrative permissions to bank accounts.
School officials did not ensure that network and financial software access controls were adequate. As a result, data and personal, private and sensitive information are at greater risk for unauthorized access, misuse or loss. In addition to finding sensitive information technology (IT) control weaknesses, which was communicated confidentially to officials, auditors found that officials did not: adopt adequate network and financial software policies; establish an IT contingency plan; or provide IT security awareness training. Auditors found 18% of the school’s enabled nonstudent user accounts were not needed, which created additional entry points for someone to inappropriately access the network. Two of the three financial software user accounts unnecessarily had full access and three individuals unnecessarily shared access to a user account with administrative permissions.
District officials did not properly approve, monitor and control overtime worked by the facilities and operations department employees. The department’s overtime costs were 97% of the district’s total overtime costs during the audit period. Auditors reviewed $381,878 (29%) of those costs and found that the department employees were paid $194,514 for overtime that was not approved until up to 20 days after the work was performed. Department workers were also paid $31,486 for 605 hours of overtime worked without any supervisory approval. District officials exceeded the department’s overtime budget from 2018-19 through 2021-22 by $1,107,396.
Officials did not ensure that leave accruals were accurate or payments for unused leave and separation payments were authorized and calculated correctly. District officials made errors in 76% of district employees’ accrued leave calculations. The district incorrectly calculated 61% of the unused vacation leave, sick leave and retirement incentive payments made during the audit period. Of the 38 payments totaling approximately $270,000 that auditors reviewed, 23 had errors totaling $8,530, including $4,900 in payments for unused vacation leave which were not authorized by the employees’ collective bargaining agreements.
District officials could achieve cost-savings by offering a buyout in lieu of health insurance coverage. Total savings could range between approximately $130,000 and $190,000 annually if the district offered family plan coverage buyouts of $4,500 or $6,000 and individual plan coverage buyouts of $2,000 or $2,500.
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