le_ticonderoga

Document Sample
le_ticonderoga Powered By Docstoc
					ALAN G. HEVESI                        STATE OF NEW YORK                                MARK P. PATTISON
                                                                                      DEPUTY COMPTROLLER
 COMPTROLLER                   OFFICE OF THE STATE COMPTROLLER             DIVISION OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT SERVICES
                                          110 STATE STREET                          AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
                                       ALBANY, NEW YORK 12236                 Tel: (518) 474-4037 Fax: (518) 486-6479



                                                   December 16, 2005



  Mr. Robert Dedrick, Supervisor
  And Members of the Town Board
  Town of Ticonderoga
  PO Box 471
  117 Montcalm Street
  Ticonderoga, NY 12883

  Report No. P5-5-42

  Dear Supervisor Dedrick and Members of the Town Board:

  One of the State Comptroller’s primary objectives is to identify areas where local governments can improve
  their fiscal operations and provide guidance and services that will assist local officials in making those
  improvements. Our goals are to develop and promote short-term and long-term strategies to enable and
  encourage local government officials to reduce costs, improve service delivery and to account for and
  protect their government’s assets.

  In accordance with these goals, we conducted a regional audit to provide local government officials with
  information to determine whether the purchasing practices of local governments have led to significant
  differences in the amounts paid for similar large equipment. The Town of Ticonderoga (Town) was included
  in our audit. Our audit of the Town’s operations was limited to an examination of large equipment purchases
  made during the 2003 and 2004 calendar years.

  This report of examination letter summarizes our findings and recommendations specific to the Town of
  Ticonderoga. We discussed the findings and recommendations with Town officials and considered their
  comments in preparing this report. The Town’s response is attached to this report in Appendix A. At the
  completion of our audit of the ten government units, we will prepare a global report that summarizes the
  significant issues we identified at all the government units audited.




                                                      1
Background and Methodology

The procurement practices in the Town of Ticonderoga are typical of the methods used by other local
governments in the region. Generally, towns employ one of two options for the purchase of new large
equipment: either advertising for competitive bids from vendors or acquiring the equipment under the terms
of the New York State or applicable County contract, as an exception to competitive bidding requirements.
Our audit assessed whether local governments were utilizing the most effective means of purchasing large
equipment. As part of our audit we surveyed 60 local governments from 10 counties to determine what
types of equipment they had purchased in 2003 and 2004; whether the purchases were made through a
competitive bid process or under State or County contract; and how much was spent for the equipment
purchased. During our audit period, 46 plow trucks were purchased by the local governments included in
our survey. We noted that the prices paid for double axle plow trucks ranged from approximately $106,000
to $152,000. We also noted that plow trucks that were purchased through a competitive bidding process
were generally more expensive than those purchased through the New York State contract. Upon
investigation, the most expensive plow trucks purchased resulted when bid specifications used to advertise
for bids were provided by a truck dealer that was ultimately awarded the bid. Our survey noted that local
governments utilizing the State contracts typically recognized a savings ranging from $20,000 to $30,000
compared to those who did not.

We conducted our audit in accordance with Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards. Such
standards require that we plan and conduct our audit to adequately assess those Town operations within
our audit scope. Further, those standards require that we understand the Town’s management controls and
those laws, rules and regulations that are relevant to the Town’s operations included in our scope. An audit
includes examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting transactions recorded in accounting and operating
records, and applying such other auditing procedures, as we consider necessary in the circumstances. We
believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for the findings and recommendations contained in this
report.

Audit Results

During 2004, the Town Board (Board) authorized the purchase of a new 2005 plow truck. A truck dealer
provided the Town with specifications for a truck and, in response to an inquiry from the Town Highway
Superintendent, the dealer provided a letter to the Town indicating that the Town was purchasing the truck
under the terms of a State contract. The Board acknowledged the information provided by the dealer and
subsequently authorized the purchase of the truck for $147,519. However, the Board did not verify
beforehand with the New York State Office of General Services (OGS) that the dealer had actually been
awarded the State contract for the truck being sold to the Town. Our review of the specifications and the
apparent high cost of the truck led us to question whether the truck had in fact been purchased under the
State contract. We contacted OGS and asked that they review the letter from the truck dealer to determine
whether the information contained in the letter was accurate. In response to our inquiry, OGS personnel
informed us that the letter to the Town from the truck dealer contained incorrect information and that the
dealer did not legitimately hold the State contract for the brand of truck it had sold to the Town. Furthermore,
OGS also noted that the truck purchased by the Town was not the specific model covered under the State
contract.


                                                       2
Not verifying the accuracy of the information provided by the truck dealer caused the Town to pay more
than necessary for the plow truck. We noted another local government that purchased a similar 2005 plow
truck through the State contract for $121,000. The Town of Ticonderoga would have saved approxi-
mately $26,500 compared to what it paid for the truck it acquired by using the state contract instead of
relying on a vendor’s representation.

Recommendation

The Town Board should determine the state contract price available from OGS for large equipment purchases.
Unless the town can obtain more favorable terms by local bid, the state contract should be used for these
purchases. Our office is available to provide technical assistance in this area.

The Town Board has the responsibility to initiate corrective action. Pursuant to Section 35 of the General
Municipal Law, the Town Board should prepare a plan of action that addresses the recommendations in
this report and forward the plan to our office within 90 days. We encourage the Town Board to make this
plan available for public review in the Town clerk’s office. See the attached document for additional
information on filing a corrective action plan. Our office is available to assist you upon request.

If you have any questions regarding our findings, please contact Gary Gifford at 518-793-0057 or write to
our Glens Falls office at One Broad Street Plaza, Glens Falls, NY 12801.

                                                Sincerely,



                                                Steven J. Hancox
                                                Assistant Comptroller

cc: Paul Buckman, Town Clerk




                                                    3
                                            APPENDIX A

                             RESPONSE FROM TOWN OFFICIALS


The Town officials’ response to this audit can be found on the following page.




                                                   4