Comptroller says all contracts between Dutchess and Child Abuse Center not executed timely

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POUGHKEEPSIE – An audit of the Child Abuse Prevention Center, a Poughkeepsie-based contract agency with Dutchess County, found that all of the contracts between the agency and county were not executed timely.

County Comptroller Robin Lois said previous audits found the same situation of untimely execution of contracts.

“We strongly recommend the Dutchess County Attorney’s Office and administration work to determine how to timely execute contracts to mitigate risks and ensure timely payment for services rendered to vendors and agencies providing vital services to our community,” said Lois.

She said delayed execution of contracts “not only results in a legal risk to the county but poses a significant financial hardship on agencies that provide these essential services to the residents of Dutchess County.”

Lois said this issue has been raised by her office over the past few years as “a systemic problem across all county departments that needs to be addressed.”

County Executive Marc Molinaro said his office “established a contract workgroup in early 2019 to look at ways that the contract process could be expedited.”

He said while “every contract is different and can have different causes for delays, the workgroup, including a representative from the Comptroller’s Office identified several ways to improve the process which were implemented.  The group will continue to meet to make sure procedures put in place continue to add efficiencies to the process and be sure that agency contracts are timely for the programs and services they provide.”

Other findings in the comptroller’s latest audit include deficiencies in internal controls, lack of board of directors function and oversight, deficient program delivery, and untimely banking and financial recordkeeping. 

Lois said several recommendations were made including updating policies and procedures; proper segregation of duties; increased board oversight; stronger program monitoring and management; strengthening of financial recordkeeping; training; and timeliness.