State agencies wasted an estimated $1.7 million in public money by failing to obtain cash discounts on contracts, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced this afternoon.
Certain vendors offer discounts when agencies pay invoices within a month or 15 days. Supplemental Health Care provides a discount of 5 percent if invoices are paid within 30 days. Worldwide Travel Staffing Limited gives a 2 percent discount if it is paid within 30 days and 4 percent if the money is received within 15 days, DiNapoli said.
The comptroller, who issued three reports on the cash discounts today, said agencies often were unaware of the discounts available to them and have not taken advantage of them since 2007. His office issued a guidance document for agencies and called on the state Office of General Services to improve its oversight of contracts.
“If an agency gets a discount for paying invoices on time, the agency owes it to taxpayers to take that discount,” he said in a statement. “There is no excuse for ignoring cost savings. The state’s buying power should always be used to its best advantage to reduce government costs.”
Auditors from DiNapoli’s office contacted 20 agencies that were using centralized contracts for temporary personnel service that offer cash discounts. Nineteen of them were not aware that the discounts were available. The comptroller’s office did in-depth examinations at three of the agencies, finding that:
— None of them have taken discounts since the inception of their contracts with Supplemental Health Care and Worldwide Travel Staffing Limited in November 2007.
— The vendors did not include the terms of the discount on their invoices.
— The agencies made an estimated $210,000 in unnecessary payments from November 2007 through August 2011. The Health Department made the bulk of unnecessary payments — $142,647. Unnecessary payments totaled $35,729 for the Office of Children and Family Services and $31,283 for the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.