senate Bill S1751

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Establishes an independent office of school inspector general for school districts outside of the city of New York

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 08, 2014 referred to local government
Jan 09, 2013 referred to local government

S1751 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Law Section:
General Municipal Law
Laws Affected:
Add ยง33-b, Gen Muni L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Sessions:
2011-2012: S3861
2009-2010: S2812

S1751 - Bill Texts

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Establishes a school inspector general for school districts outside of the city of New York.

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BILL NUMBER:S1751

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the general municipal law, in relation
to establishing within the
office of the state
comptroller, the school inspector general

PURPOSE:
To establish the School Inspector General within the Office of the
State Comptroller to review the financial affairs of school districts
within its jurisdiction.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section one of the bill adds a new section 33-b to the General
Municipal Law establishing a School Inspector General (SIG) within
the Office of the State Comptroller. The SIG will review the
financial affairs of a school district including, but not limited to:
(i) examining and evaluating the financial records, transactions,
contracts, revenues and expenditures generated by a school district
each year; (ii) examining and evaluating budgeting and accounting
procedures and processes; (iii) receiving complaints relating to
alleged fraudulent or illegal activities of such school districts and
investigating such complaints; (iv) examining and reviewing all
construction contracts entered into by such school districts; and (v)
reviewing procurement competitive bidding procedures.

The SIG will be entitled to information from the department of
education as necessary to carry out his/her duties.

The SIG will have the power to access: (i) all school financial
documents and records of the school district; (ii) all backup
financial, budgeting and accounting documentation necessary to verify
transactions in a given year; (iii) any prior year data when
necessary to verify current financial conditions. In addition, the
SIG will have the power to: (i) assess the current financial and
budgeting practices to ensure that budget process is accurate; (ii)
subpoena any and all relevant budget documents; and (iii) hire
support personnel, including, but not limited to, attorneys, auditors
and support staff.

The SIG will prepare a report providing a detailed analysis of the
issues reviewed for each school district and the current financial
status of each such school district. Such report will be delivered to
the Governor, the Minority and Majority Leaders of both houses of the
Legislature and the State Education Department, and shall be
available to the public for at least three years.

If the SIG uncovers any fraud, abuse or violation of state law at any
time during or after review, he or she must immediately report such
finding to the governor and the commissioner of education and provide
the appropriate law enforcement agency with all documentation
supporting such conclusions.


School district reviews will be conducted pursuant to a schedule
established by the SIG. The specific school districts chosen must
remain confidential within the office of the state comptroller. The
president of the school board and the superintendent will be notified
at least ten working days prior to the commencement of such review
and upon such notice, prepare all documents necessary for timely
completion of such review. In addition, the SIG may conduct follow-up
reviews of a school district at any time to determine whether
recommended changes have been implemented.

Section 2 provides for an effective date one hundred and eighty days
after enactment.

JUSTIFICATION:
This bill would establish, within the Office of the State Comptroller
a School Inspector General with authority to review and assess the
activities of school districts outside of the City of New York,
including but not limited to, the fiscal performance of the school
district and its financial practices.

In addition, this legislation requires the SIG to draft a report with
a detailed analysis of the current financial status of the district,
including all of its financial practices as they relate to the
overall and budgetary and financial management of the district.

Together with the auditing of school districts currently being carried
out by the Comptroller, this bill would provide a comprehensive
approach to ensure accountability and restore public confidence in
school district financial operations.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2011-12 S.3861: 2009-10 S.2812; 2007-08, S.3208-B, 2005-06, S 909-A;
2004, S.7484.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
In order to implement the provisions of this legislation, an
appropriation of $3.9 million to the Office of the State Comptroller
would be necessary for the hiring of approximately 48 professional
and support personnel such as attorneys, auditors, data analysts for
data mining, investigators, management and support staff. In
addition, the appropriation would cover non-personal service costs
such as travel, office space, and computer equipment.

LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it
shall have become law; provided, however, that effective immediately,
any rule or regulation necessary for the timely implementation of
this act shall be promulgated on or before such effective date.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  1751

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 9, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen. LAVALLE -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Local Government

AN ACT to amend the general municipal law, in relation  to  establishing
  within  the  office  of  the  state  comptroller, the school inspector
  general

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1.  The  general  municipal  law  is  amended by adding a new
section 33-b to read as follows:
  S 33-B. SCHOOL INSPECTOR GENERAL. 1. THE SCHOOL INSPECTOR GENERAL  FOR
SCHOOL  DISTRICTS  LOCATED  OUTSIDE  THE CITY OF NEW YORK (SIG) SHALL BE
ESTABLISHED WITHIN THE OFFICE OF THE STATE COMPTROLLER FOR  THE  PURPOSE
OF  REVIEWING,  AT  HIS  OR HER DISCRETION, THE FINANCIAL AFFAIRS OF ANY
SUCH SCHOOL DISTRICTS. SUCH REVIEW MAY INCLUDE, BUT SHALL NOT BE LIMITED
TO:
  (A) EXAMINING AND  EVALUATING  THE  FINANCIAL  RECORDS,  TRANSACTIONS,
CONTRACTS, REVENUES AND EXPENDITURES GENERATED BY A SCHOOL DISTRICT EACH
YEAR;
  (B)  EXAMINING  AND EVALUATING BUDGETING AND ACCOUNTING PROCEDURES AND
PROCESSES;
  (C) RECEIVING COMPLAINTS RELATING TO  ALLEGED  FRAUDULENT  OR  ILLEGAL
ACTIVITIES OF SUCH SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND INVESTIGATING SUCH COMPLAINTS;
  (D) EXAMINING AND REVIEWING ALL CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS ENTERED INTO BY
SUCH SCHOOL DISTRICTS; AND
  (E) REVIEWING PROCUREMENT COMPETITIVE BIDDING PROCEDURES.
  2.  THE  SIG SHALL BE ENTITLED TO REQUEST, UTILIZE AND/OR RECEIVE SUCH
INFORMATION AND RESOURCES FROM  THE  DEPARTMENT  OF  EDUCATION  AND  ANY
SCHOOL  DISTRICTS WITHIN HIS OR HER JURISDICTION, AS THE SIG MAY REASON-
ABLY REQUEST, TO CARRY OUT PROPERLY HIS OR HER RESPONSIBILITY AND DUTIES
AS DESCRIBED IN THIS SECTION.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD06160-01-3

S. 1751                             2

  3. IN CONJUNCTION WITH, AND IN FURTHERANCE OF THE POWERS CONFERRED  ON
THE  OFFICE  OF THE STATE COMPTROLLER BY THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ARTICLE,
THE SIG SHALL HAVE THE POWER TO:
  (A)  ACCESS ALL SCHOOL DISTRICT FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS AND RECORDS, WHICH
SHALL INCLUDE BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO, AN ACCOUNTING OF ALL  REVENUES  AND
THE SPECIFIC SOURCES OF REVENUE FOR THE SCHOOL DISTRICT, ALL EXPENDITURE
RECORDS  AND  THE  EXACT NATURE OF THOSE EXPENDITURES, ALL CONTRACTS AND
THE  NAMES  OF  ALL  SCHOOL  DISTRICT  CONTRACTORS,  ALL  REIMBURSEMENTS
RECEIVED  BY  THE  DISTRICT  AND  THEIR  SOURCE,  ALL  CASH RECEIPTS AND
PAYMENTS BY SOURCE AND PURPOSE;
  (B) ACCESS ALL BACKUP FINANCIAL, BUDGETING AND  ACCOUNTING  DOCUMENTA-
TION  AND OTHER DATA THAT MAY BE NECESSARY TO VERIFY, CONFIRM AND RECON-
STRUCT ALL OF THE TRANSACTIONS MADE BY THE SCHOOL DISTRICT  IN  A  GIVEN
YEAR;
  (C)  ACCESS  ANY  PRIOR  YEAR'S  FINANCIAL,  BUDGETING  AND ACCOUNTING
DOCUMENTATION AND OTHER DATA WHENEVER NECESSARY SO AS TO VERIFY, CONFIRM
AND RECONSTRUCT THE SCHOOL DISTRICT'S CURRENT FINANCIAL SITUATION;
  (D) ASSESS THE SCHOOL  DISTRICT'S  CURRENT  FINANCIAL  ACCOUNTING  AND
BUDGETARY PRACTICES AND RECORDS REGARDING SCHOOL BOARD ACTIONS TO ENSURE
THAT ASSUMPTIONS MADE RELATING TO THE BUDGET ARE ACCURATE AND CONSISTENT
FROM  YEAR  TO YEAR, TO ENSURE THAT ALL INFORMATION REGARDING THE BUDGET
HAS BEEN PROPERLY DISCLOSED PURSUANT TO  ANY  APPLICABLE  LAW,  RULE  OR
REGULATION,  TO  ENSURE  THAT  SUCH PRACTICES AND RECORDS ARE CONSISTENT
WITH ESTABLISHED STANDARDS AND  STATE  LAW,  RULES  OR  REGULATIONS,  TO
ENSURE  THAT SUCH PRACTICES AND RECORDS PROVIDE FOR ACCURATE PROTECTIONS
AGAINST THEFT OR OTHER ABUSES AND THAT ANY FILINGS THAT ARE REQUIRED  BY
THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION FOR THE REIMBURSEMENT OF FUNDS FOR WHICH THE
SCHOOL  DISTRICT IS ENTITLED ARE FILED, AND THAT SYSTEMS ARE IN PLACE TO
ENSURE THAT SUCH FILINGS ARE DONE AS NECESSARY WITHIN  THE  TIME  LIMITS
PRESCRIBED BY LAW;
  (E) SUBPOENA ANY AND ALL DOCUMENTS HE OR SHE DEEMS NECESSARY TO ENSURE
THAT THE PUBLIC HAS BEEN PROVIDED WITH ACCURATE AND COMPLETE INFORMATION
REGARDING  THE  SCHOOL  DISTRICT'S  CURRENT  FINANCIAL SITUATION AND THE
SCHOOL DISTRICT'S CURRENT AND PAST BUDGETARY PRACTICES; AND
  (F) HIRE PROFESSIONAL AND SUPPORT PERSONNEL NECESSARY TO  FULFILL  THE
REQUIREMENTS  OF  THIS SECTION INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ATTORNEYS,
AUDITORS AND SUPPORT STAFF.
  4. (A) THE SIG SHALL PREPARE A REPORT PROVIDING A DETAILED ANALYSIS OF
THE ISSUES REVIEWED FOR EACH SCHOOL DISTRICT. SUCH REPORT SHALL INCLUDE,
BUT SHALL NOT BE LIMITED TO, A STATEMENT BY THE SIG SUMMARIZING  HIS  OR
HER FINDINGS, AND EXPLICITLY STATING ANY FINDINGS RELATING TO THE FINAN-
CIAL  AND  BUDGETARY  PRACTICES  OF  THE  SCHOOL DISTRICT THAT HE OR SHE
BELIEVES VIOLATED, OR COULD POTENTIALLY  VIOLATE,  EXISTING  STATE  LAW,
RULES OR REGULATIONS OR MAY BE OF CONCERN IN THAT NEGLIGENCE OR INCOMPE-
TENCE  MAY RESULT IN FINANCIAL OR BUDGETARY PRACTICES THAT VIOLATE STATE
LAW, RULES AND REGULATIONS, OR ARE INCONSISTENT WITH ESTABLISHED  STAND-
ARDS, AND MAKING RECOMMENDATIONS TO RECTIFY SUCH VIOLATIONS OR POTENTIAL
VIOLATIONS; AND
  (B)  THE REPORT REQUIRED BY PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL BE
DELIVERED TO THE GOVERNOR, THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF  THE  SENATE,  THE
SPEAKER  OF  THE  ASSEMBLY,  THE  MINORITY  LEADER OF THE SENATE AND THE
MINORITY LEADER OF THE ASSEMBLY AND THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT. SUCH
REPORT SHALL BECOME A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND SHALL BE AVAILABLE  TO
THE  PUBLIC  UPON  REQUEST  FOR  A  MINIMUM OF THREE YEARS. WITHIN THREE
MONTHS AFTER SUCH SIG REPORT IS MADE PUBLIC, A  PUBLIC  FORUM  SHALL  BE
MADE  AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC COMMENT, SUGGESTIONS AND QUESTIONS. THE FINAL

S. 1751                             3

REPORT SHALL BE POSTED ON THE SCHOOL DISTRICT'S WEB SITE  FOR  AT  LEAST
THREE YEARS.
  5.  IF,  AT ANY TIME DURING OR AFTER THE REVIEW, THE SIG BELIEVES THAT
ANY FRAUD, ABUSE OR VIOLATION OF STATE LAW HAS OCCURRED HE OR SHE  SHALL
IMMEDIATELY REPORT SUCH FINDINGS TO THE GOVERNOR AND THE COMMISSIONER OF
EDUCATION AND PROVIDE THE APPROPRIATE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY WITH PROPER
JURISDICTION  WITH  ANY  AND  ALL  DOCUMENTATION  SUPPORTING  HIS OR HER
CONCLUSIONS RELATING TO SUCH VIOLATIONS.
  6. (A) SCHOOL DISTRICT REVIEWS SHALL BE CONDUCTED PURSUANT TO A SCHED-
ULE ESTABLISHED BY THE SIG. THE SPECIFIC SCHOOL DISTRICTS  CHOSEN  SHALL
REMAIN  CONFIDENTIAL  WITHIN  THE  OFFICE  OF THE STATE COMPTROLLER. THE
PRESIDENT OF THE SCHOOL BOARD AND THE SUPERINTENDENT SHALL  BE  NOTIFIED
AT  LEAST TEN WORKING DAYS PRIOR TO COMMENCEMENT OF SUCH REVIEW AND UPON
SUCH NOTICE, PREPARE ALL DOCUMENTS NECESSARY FOR  TIMELY  COMPLETION  OF
SUCH REVIEW.
  (B)  THE SIG MAY CONDUCT FOLLOW-UP REVIEWS OF A SCHOOL DISTRICT AT ANY
TIME TO DETERMINE WHETHER RECOMMENDED CHANGES HAVE BEEN IMPLEMENTED.
  7. NOTHING IN THIS SECTION SHALL BE CONSTRUED OR INTERPRETED TO  ABRO-
GATE  OR  LIMIT  ANY  EXISTING  POWERS, DUTIES OR AUTHORITY OF THE STATE
COMPTROLLER.
  S 2. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after
it shall have become a law; provided, however, that effective immediate-
ly, any rule or regulation necessary for the  timely  implementation  of
this act shall be promulgated on or before such effective date.

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