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NEWS from the Office of the New York State Comptroller
Contact: Press Office 518-474-4015

State Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal & School Audits

September 8, 2023

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced the following local government and school audits were issued.

City of Niagara Falls – Sexual Harassment Prevention (SHP) Training (Niagara County)

SHP training was not provided to all employees and elected officials. Of the 65 total individuals auditors tested (59 selected employees and all six elected officials), 14 employees, or 24% of employees tested, and five elected officials did not complete the annual SHP Training. Additionally, the fire department cancelled the annual SHP Training for all 131 of its uniformed personnel.

City of Watertown – Sexual Harassment Prevention Training (Jefferson County)

SHP training was provided to employees and elected officials. However, there was a general lack of monitoring to ensure the SHP training was completed by all employees and the city’s training completion records were unreliable. As a result, officials have no assurance that all individuals who should have completed the 2021 SHP training did so.

Cold Spring Harbor Central School District – Capital Assets (Suffolk and Nassau Counties)

District officials did not properly record, tag and account for capital asset purchases. As a result, the district has an increased risk that its assets could be lost, misused or stolen. Auditors found: the assistant superintendent for business did not maintain an inventory of capital assets that had a minimum value of $500; 67 capital assets totaling $171,438 were not properly identified or recorded; and the purchasing department did not prepare and distribute unique identification tags for capital assets that were purchased during the audit period.

Eldred Central School District – Sexual Harassment Prevention Training (Orange and Sullivan Counties)

SHP training was not provided to all employees or board members and because the district’s training completion records are unreliable, officials have no assurance all individuals required to complete the 2021 SHP training did so. Additionally, the district excluded new hires, and per diem employees from SHP training.

Kiryas Joel Village Union Free School District – Network User Account and Shared Network Folder Access (Orange County)

District officials did not adequately secure user account access to the network and shared network folders to help safeguard personal, private and sensitive (PPSI) information. As a result, there is an increased risk of unauthorized access to the network and PPSI stored on shared network folders. Auditors found that officials did not: disable 35 unnecessary former employee shared and service network user accounts, which comprise 11% of the district’s enabled accounts; adequately secure shared network folder access, resulting in users having unnecessary access to multiple forms of PPSI in eight shared folders; or maintain a data inventory to properly protect information technology resources, including data containing PPSI.

Lansing Fire District – Investment Program (Tompkins County)

Auditors found the board of fire commissioners did not develop and adopt a comprehensive written investment policy as required by state law. The district earned interest totaling approximately $9,000 from its savings account, which had an average daily balance of approximately $3.8 million during the audit. However, the district could have earned approximately $70,000, or $61,000 more had officials used other available investment options. Officials did not consider other legally permissible investment options or formally solicit interest rate quotes that may have resulted in higher interest earnings.

Persistence Preparatory Academy Charter School – Credit Cards (Erie County)

Credit card charges reviewed by auditors were not properly approved or adequately supported, and nearly all the charges lacked support to show they were for a valid school purpose. Auditors reviewed transactions totaling $117,567 and determined that almost 98% lacked documentation to demonstrate the charge’s necessity or the school-related purpose of the charge. For example, charges totaling $22,276 included grocery, alcohol and restaurant purchases, and food purchases for “going away parties,” a teacher’s bridal shower and staff holiday parties. Additionally, the board treasurer did not review credit card charges in a timely manner.