Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Fraud Detection Training

DiNapoli Launches New Fraud Detection Training Initiative for Not-for-Profits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced a new training program for not-for-profit officials to help them prevent and detect fraud and protect taxpayer dollars.
"New York not-for-profits manage billions of dollars. They contract with the state and other local governments to provide crucial services to New York families," DiNapoli said. "This training course will strengthen their financial management practices and ability to detect and prevent fraud."

The program includes case studies of actual fraud uncovered by state auditors and simple fraud detection tools to assist not-for-profits of all sizes. Taught by state forensic auditors in DiNapoli's office, the program also provides a risk assessment model to help identify the most cost-effective ways to fight waste, fraud and abuse, and meets continuing professional education requirements for eligible accountants.

The first training will be held at the Long Island Center for Nonprofit Leadership at Adelphi University in Garden City on March 1 at 8:30 am. A seminar will also be held in Buffalo on March 16 at 8:30am at the Meals on Wheels Community Learning Center in conjunction with the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County. Additional sessions will be scheduled around the state.
"Bad things can happen to good organizations," said Ann Marie Thigpen, Executive Director of the Long Island Center for NFP Leadership. "It is critical to protect, as best we can, our organization's mission and integrity along with our stakeholders' trust. Thanks to the Comptroller's office, we now have a resource for learning how to ensure that systems and practices are in place to minimize the opportunity for those dishonest few who prey on the good work that we do."

DiNapoli's office is responsible for reviewing and auditing not-for-profit contracts awarded through state agencies. In 2009-2010, DiNapoli met with not-for-profit leaders throughout the state about challenges they were facing in light of the severe national recession. His office also looked at the economic impact of not-for-profits in the state and made recommendations for reforming and modernizing the contracts and payment process. This new training, developed in collaboration with not-for-profit organizations around the state, will help protect limited resources.

The original article can be found here:

For more on the Comptroller's Fraud Detection & Prevention seminars click on the following:

Thursday, March 1, 2012

NY Planning Federation Conference April 15-17 in Saratoga Springs

From the NY Planning Federation
This year's conference offers several programs related to urban and/or downtown issues, each focusing on a different concern for municipal boards and professional planners. These include "Designing Urban Bikeways," "Multi-Generational Design in Community Planning," "Context Sensitive Design," "Developing a Viable Downtown" and "Public Health Considerations in Community Design."

We also have both introductory and advanced SEQR courses, as many of you requested. The advanced class will focus on the sometimes-confusing process of filling out the long form EIS, while the introductory session will cover SEQR basics.

Dates: Sunday April 15 to Tuesday April 17
Place: Saratoga Hilton Hotel & Conference Center, downtown Saratoga Springs
Programming: Begins at 4:30 pm Sunday with a mock open meetings hearing, then 8:30 am - 4:45 pm on Monday, Apr. 16 and 8:30 - Noon on Tuesday, Apr. 17.

A conference registration form is posted on our website (

Monday morning April 16th begins with an 8:30 am plenary session. We are excited that Robert Freeman, Executive Director of the New York State Committee on Open Government, and one of our most popular presenters, has agreed to be this year's keynote speaker. His topic will be "Reflections on Transparency," a term that he notes, "we hear far too frequently." Freeman's talk will discuss the evolution of the term, its meaning, and the likelihood of real transparency, "required, in fact, by law in New York." As with any of his lively sessions, comments and questions from the audience will be encouraged.

The plenary program kicks off two days of almost two dozen classes for all levels. In response to numerous requests from municipal boards, we are adding an entire track of introductory courses aimed at first-time planning board and/or ZBA members, as well as for those wanting to brush up on their basic knowledge. These sessions will be identified as "Introductory" in the conference program and so far include presentations on:

Area & Use Variances
Introduction to SEQR
Site Plan Review
Special Use Permits
Non-Conforming Uses
Rights & Responsibilities of Board Members
More experienced attendees will want to hear well-known Albany Law School attorney Patricia Salkin present sessions on Case Law Updates and Ethics.

Other speakers will discuss:
Advanced SEQR
Context-Sensitive Design
Updating the Comprehensive Plan
Zoning for a Viable Downtown
Natural Gas Drilling
Creating Bicycle-Friendly Communities
When Right is Blight
Conducting Meetings
Local Planning and Agriculture
Article X
and many more topics - including several "hot button" issues -- that are still in the works and will be announced shortly.

All sessions at the NYPF conference meet the New York State annual 4 hour training requirements for planning board and ZBA members; those attending the full conference will receive 8 credits during the three days, enough for two years' of certification. We are also applying to the APA to once again be a CM provider for professional planners.

If you are staying at the Hilton, please call 518 584 4000 and ask for the registration desk. Inform them that you are part of the New York Planning Federation conference. The room rate is $99.00 per person per night, exclusive of taxes and other charges. Note that parking is free to conference attendees. (Your hotel confirmation will include a parking charge which will be waived upon arrival.)

Feel free to contact either Lael Locke (, Judy Breselor ( or Anne Rounds ( at our office with any questions, suggestions or concerns. Our phone number is 518 512 5270.