DUTCHESS COUNTY COMPTROLLER ROBIN LOIS RELEASES AUDIT OF STABILIZATION CENTER HIGHLIGHTING LACK OF PROCESS AND OVERSIGHT
Poughkeepsie, N.Y. – The Office of the Dutchess County Comptroller has released their audit of the Stabilization Center’s financial activities, associated contract claims, and its internal processes for the period of November 15, 2016 to December 31, 2021. The Stabilization Center began operating in February 2017, providing walk-in crisis services for residents experiencing emotional distress and/or substance abuse issues. It is noted that while the Center had initially been managed by Dutchess County employees, it is now entirely operated by contracted agencies with County oversight.
The report includes descriptions of services, service providers by year, visit statistics, revenue and expense details, and imminent changes for Stabilization Centers in New York State beginning in 2023. The Comptroller’s audit revealed several concerning practices associated with financial operations, timely executions of contracts, and proper adherence to the County’s procurement policies—including a failure to re-issue an RFP (Request for Proposal) following a material change in services. The Comptroller’s Office has recommended stronger oversight and processes for contract claims and billing, as well as updated processes for all financial activities per impending NYS requirements.
As noted in this most recent report, Dutchess County government has repeatedly struggled with executing contracts within appropriate time frames, an observation that has been cited in multiple reports since Comptroller Lois first took office in 2018.
“I encourage the County Attorney and Administration to include timely contract execution as a priority initiative in 2023,” said Comptroller Lois. “Being able to rely upon the actual relationship of the County with their Vendors is crucial to mitigating risks and ensuring timely and accurate payments.”
The Comptroller hopes that the recommendations offered will improve operations at the Stabilization Center and promote its sustainability.
The Stabilization Center Audit report is attached and can be found here.