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Audit: Great Neck school district’s fuel depot not properly monitored

Great Neck school supervisors failed to adequately monitor use of the district’s 4,000-gallon fuel depot, raising risks that hundreds of gallons could have been diverted to private vehicles, state auditors have concluded.

The report from the state comptroller’s office found no evidence of wrongdoing.

Great Neck’s superintendent, Teresa Prendergast, responded that the district will follow up on the state’s recommendations for strengthening internal controls over fuel use and expressed appreciation for the assistance.

The district is one of the largest in Nassau County, with an enrollment of 6,400 students, a fleet of 79 vehicles and other heavy equipment, and an annual budget of $216 million.

“We are gratified to note that there were no findings of fraud, waste or mismanagement,” Prendergast wrote in her letter to Ira McCracken, chief examiner at the comptroller’s regional center in Hauppauge.

The 15-page report found that Great Neck left itself open to the risk of theft because of inadequate safeguards. For example, state auditors said that the number of gallons of fuel dispensed on one day in January, as displayed on the pump, was about 10 percent more than the number of gallons actually meted out.

“As a result of these discrepancies, unauthorized removal of fuel from the tank could occur without detection, and the board and district officials do not have adequate assurance that fuel inventories are properly accounted for and fuel is being used for appropriate district purposes,” the report stated.

The state’s audit covered a period from July 2014 through October 2015, when the district spent a total of about $140,000 on gasoline.

The report noted that a camera monitors the site, and that employees record pumping of gas. Auditors added, however, that the camera did not clearly show vehicle license plates, and that employees recorded fuel use on their own without adequate review or oversight.

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