Lawmakers call for deeper look at state it systems following DOL audit

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York State lawmakers are vowing to push for a full assessment of all state IT systems following a scathing audit by the New York State Comptroller that revealed the Department of Labor lost at least $11 billion to unemployment fraud during the first year of the pandemic.

As News10NBC first reported on Tuesday, an audit released by NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found that NYSDOL ignored warnings as far back as 2010 that its system was out of date and susceptible to widespread fraud and now there are concerns other agencies may be doing the same.

“I doubt the state will ever be able to recover even half of what DOL lost,” Assemblymember Josh Jensen told News10NBC on Wednesday. But Jensen believes at the very least, other state agencies need to learn from DOL’s near collapse.

“There’s a lot of money that the state asks the public to pay whether that’s in taxes, whether that’s in fees,” he says. “We’re asking citizens to pay. We’re asking businesses to pay. Do we have technological infrastructure at the Office of Tax and Finance, at the Department of Financial Services, at the other agencies that handle taxpayer money and personal information?”

Assemblymember Sarah Clark agrees.

“I really think it’s our job in the legislature to be the watchdog for our state agencies,” she tells News10NBC.

State Senator Samra Brouk told News10NBC she supports a deeper look at state IT systems too.

“We need to improve these processes,” she says. “We need to upgrade our systems. It’s really been long overdue.”

Technology and processing systems haven’t traditionally been hot-button issues for voters but if the Comptroller’s audit highlights one thing, it may be that a bigger investment in IT infrastructure is needed.

“I think we have to have a full accounting of the weaknesses that our state’s technology infrastructure has and if we need to invest in ensuring that top-level security and that it cannot be exploited then that’s money well spent,” Jensen says.

You can see our coverage here: