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12s93

12s93

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Published by Nick Reisman

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Published by: Nick Reisman on Feb 18, 2014
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New York State Oce of the State Comptroller
Thomas P. DiNapoliDivision of State Government Accountability
Report 2012-S-93February 2014
Selected Employee Travel ExpensesDepartment of Transportaon
 
2012-S-93
Division of State Government Accountability
 1
Execuve Summary
Purpose
To determine whether the use of travel monies by selected government employees complied
with rules and regulaons and is free from fraud, waste, and abuse.
Background
New York State’s execuve agencies spend between $100 million and $150 million each year on travel expenses. These expenses, which are discreonary and under the control of agency management, include car rentals, meals, lodging, transportaon, fuel, and incidental costs such as airline baggage and travel agency fees. As part of a statewide audit iniave to determine whether the use of travel money by selected government employees was appropriate, we
audited travel expenses for the highest-cost travelers in the State. These travelers incurred over
$100,000 in travel expenses during our three-year audit period and/or exhibited unusual travel characteriscs. We examined a total of $639,218 in travel expenses for 20 Department of Transportaon (Department) employees. Of the 20 employees, eight had long-term assignments in Tarrytown,
New York for work related to the Tappan Zee Bridge. From September 2007 through September
2011, the Department paid travel reimbursements to the eight Tarrytown employees totaling $320,756.
Key Findings
The Department’s travel payments for the 12 employees who were not assigned to Tarrytown
were correct. However, the Department incorrectly designated Poughkeepsie as the ocial staon of the eight Tarrytown employees and, as a result, made improper travel reimbursements totaling $320,756 for the employees’ normal commung costs to and from work. Department ocials aributed the error, in part, to the lack of management awareness of ocial State
policies regarding travel reimbursements.
• As a result of the improper travel reimbursements made to the eight Tarrytown employees, the Department may have failed to report nearly $227,000 in taxable travel expenses to taxing authories for the three calendar years 2009-2011.
Key Recommendaons
• Ensure each employee’s ocial staon is established in compliance with State travel rules and
is in the best interest of the State.
• Work with the Comptroller’s Division of Payroll, Accounng and Revenue Services to take any necessary correcve acon related to the potenal taxable status of the eight Tarrytown employees’ commung expenses.
Other Related Audit/Report of Interest
 
2012-S-93
Division of State Government Accountability
 2
State of New YorkOce of the State ComptrollerDivision of State Government Accountability
February 18, 2014
Ms. Joan McDonaldCommissioner
New York State Department of Transportaon50 Wolf RoadAlbany, NY 12232
Dear Commissioner McDonald:
The Oce of the State Comptroller is commied to helping State agencies, public authories and local government agencies manage government resources eciently and eecvely and, by so doing, providing accountability for tax dollars spent to support government operaons. The Comptroller oversees the scal aairs of State agencies, public authories and local government agencies, as well as their compliance with relevant statutes and their observance of good business pracces. This scal oversight is accomplished, in part, through our audits, which idenfy opportunies for improving operaons. Audits can also idenfy strategies for reducing costs and
strengthening controls that are intended to safeguard assets.
Following is a report of our audit of the Department of Transportaon entled
Selected Employee Travel Expenses.
 The audit was performed pursuant to the State Comptroller’s authority as set
forth in Arcle V, Secon 1, of the State Constuon and Arcle II, Secon 8, of the State Finance
Law.
This audit’s results and recommendaons are resources for you to use in eecvely managing your operaons and in meeng the expectaons of taxpayers. If you have any quesons about this report, please feel free to contact us.Respecully submied,
Oce of the State Comptroller Division of State Government Accountability 

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