Meeting Minutes: September 25th, 2017

NYC School Support Services

Board Meeting

September 25, 2017

8:30am, NYCSSS Offices


Meeting Minutes


The meeting was called to order at 8:45am by Chairperson Elizabeth Rose, who noted that a quorum was present to conduct business. 


In attendance were:


Elizabeth Rose, NYCSSS Chairperson

Natalie Green Giles, NYCSSS Secretary

David Kramer, NYCSS Board Member

Jose Davila, NYCSSS Board Member

Nicholas Storellicastro, NYCSSS Treasurer


Also attending:


Stephen Brennan, NYCSSS Executive Director

John Shea, DOE, CEO of the Division of School Facilities

Erin Lester, Special Assistant to Deputy Chancellor Rose

Brooke Lewis, NYCSSS CFO

Arthur Holly, NYCSSS Director of HR

Greg Bracco, NYCSSS Director of Operations

Phil Napolitano, DOE, Division of School Facilities

Mark David, DOE, Division of School Facilities
Stephanie Fernandez, Office of the First Deputy Mayor


Ms. Rose reviewed the agenda for the meeting, which included: the appointment of Nicholas Storellicastro as Treasurer of NYCSSS and Chair of the Audit Committee; a presentation by Marks Paneth, auditors of the Corporation’s financial statements as of June 30, 2017; the approval of contracts for technology services and cybersecurity; the approval of meeting minutes from August 1, 2017; and the consideration of any new business.


Appointment of Nicholas Storellicastro


Ms. Rose made a motion to put forth the resolution to appoint Nicholas Storellicastro Treasurer of NYCSSS. The motion was approved and board members unanimously approved the resolution.  Ms. Rose then made a motion to put forth the resolution to appoint Mr. Storelliscastro as Chair of the Audit Committee of the Corporation.  The motion was approved and the resolution was unanimously approved as well.  Board members officially welcomed Mr. Storellicastro in his new role with NYCSSS.




Auditor Report—Marks Paneth


Representatives of the Corporation’s Independent Auditor, Marks Paneth, presented a preliminary report to the Board based on the audit of the Corporation’s financial statements as of June 30, 2017.  While the audit had not been completed, it was felt that the evidence obtained was sufficient to provide a basis for an unmodified opinion on the general fund financial statements, and a qualified opinion on the government-wide financial statements and that in the interest of the City’s timeline, it was prudent to present to the board at this time.


The audit team highlighted the issue of accounting for accrued pension liability by NYCSSS, indicating that NYCSSS has excluded its proportionate share of the pension liability as required by GASB (Government Accounting Standards Board).  The 32BJ School Workers Pension Fund follows FASB accounting principles, and as such, does not meet the requirements for GASB to be included in the government-wide financial statements.  The City’s Comptroller has been alerted to this discrepancy in the requirements of the accounting principles and the resulting unreported pension obligation.


The full analysis of the general fund balance sheet, the reconciliation of the general fund balance sheet to the statement of net position (deficit), and the statement of activities for the year ending June 30, 2017 were all presented in detail.  The auditors indicated that the Management Discussion section with note disclosures is yet to be completed.

Board members questioned the auditors on the timeline for completion, and they responded that the financial statements would be finalized that week, with a due date of September 30, 2017.  Mr. Storellicastro asked whether the Board would see the final statements before submission to the Comptroller’s office and the response was that could be possible if desired, and that the audit team would also be happy to return to present to the Board post-submission.  Ms. Giles asked for a comparison of the unfunded pension liability to other comparable agencies and the auditors indicated that the pension fund was 93% funded, which is considered financially healthy.  Mr. Brennan went on to clarify that our pension liabilities are limited by our contract with 32BJ, and that NYCSSS holds two seats on the 32BJ Pension Board.


There being no further questions for the Marks Paneth audit team, Ms. Rose made a motion to accept the audit report in its draft form and the motion was unanimously approved.

Approval of Contracts—Technology Services and Cybersecurity


Technology Services Resolution.  Mr. Brennan provided an overview to the Board of a revised, more detailed contract for system selection services from Ferrilli Consultants based on Board member feedback at the May 2017 meeting.  Specifically, it was requested that the deliverables proposed by the consultant be clarified, the pricing broken out in greater detail, and that the NYCSSS Board would see the RFP prior to the selection of a vendor for system integration services.  The revised contract was presented in hard copy to board members and satisfied the demands that had been put forth in the prior meeting. 

Mr. Storellicastro, who was not part of the Board at the time of the initial proposal, inquired into the selection of Ferrilli as the consultant for this work.  Mr. Brennan responded that the vendor currently serves as the outsourced IT department for NYCSSS and characterized the firm as “expertise driven with deep knowledge of education systems.”

Ms. Rose made a motion to put the resolution to approve the contract on the table and the motion was approved.  A motion was then made to approve the resolution authorizing NYCSSS to enter into a contract with Ferrilli for $45,000 for technology services, and the motion was approved.


Cyber Security-Vulnerability and Risk Assessment Services.  Ms. Rose then made a motion to consider the resolution to authorize the contract with Ferrilli for cyber security risk assessment services and the motion was approved.  Board members received a hard copy of the proposal from Ferrilli to provide Cyber Security and Risk Assessment services to NYCSSS at a cost of $30,000.  Mr. Brennan was asked to explain the rationale for the proposal and characterized the need to “lock down our systems” with a risk assessment that would indicate vulnerabilities to avoid data breaches, particularly as the technology usage of NYCSSS develops and matures with a new network environment. 

Ms. Giles raised the concern that as the de facto IT department of NYCSSS, it presents a potential conflict to contract for risk assessment and vulnerability services from the same firm who is providing the services we are seeking to protect.  Discussion led to a determination that a modified resolution should include the following changes:


  • An addendum to the contract to include specific solutions that Ferrilli will implement where vulnerabilities are found (i.e., not just a written strategy as the product but an explicit acknowledgement that they will be undertaking the tasks enumerated under “solutions” in the proposal);
  • The provision that an independent third party review would be brought in to test the system (attempt to “attack” the system to determine its security preparedness);
  • The term “periodic alerts” scheduled at four hours per month, will be given substantially more detail in terms of the timing of those alerts.

Ms. Rose requested that Ms. Lester take responsibility for drafting the language to modify the resolution as currently presented, and put the motion on the table to accept, provisionally, the resolution given the changes indicated above.  The motion was approved and the resolution authorizing the contract for was provisionally accepted.


Approval of Meeting Minutes from August 1, 2017


Ms. Rose made a motion to review the minutes from the August 1 meeting, and the motion was seconded.  Mr. Kramer noted the omission of his request of a gender breakdown of the NYCSSS workforce and applicant pool in the minutes of the August meeting.  The data was provided for the current workforce:  91.8 percent male (6, 716 employees) and 8% female (587 employees).  The data was not available for the applicant pool but will be presented at the next meeting.  Ms. Rose put forth a motion to approve the minutes and the Board unanimously voted in favor of approval.


New Business

Ms. Rose made a motion to discuss any new business of the corporation, and the motion was approved.  Ms. Rose spoke of site visits to school buildings throughout the city and indicated that the schools were extremely well maintained.  One year later, the NYCSSS transition has been very successful, with minimal complaints from staff.  Mr. Brennan made a correction to a report he had made in August in which he presented the number of grievance hearings averaging 35 per week, a number that Board members found high.  The number of grievance hearings is averaging 38 per month, not per week.  Mr. Brennan also reported that the call volume average had been over 10,000 per month, with the majority of calls being resolved within the day.  The calls that require research (e.g. length of service, leave balance) take a bit longer.

Mr. Kramer discussed a memo released to the press from a Charter Advocacy network which attacked the efficacy of NYCSSS and asked what kind of follow up the memo received.  Mr. Shea reported that the DOE press office responded, pointing out that the memo was full of inaccuracies.  Mr. Kramer requested that Board members receive a copy of the DOE response.


There being no further business, a motion was made and approved to adjourn at approximately 9:50am.  The next meeting of the NYCSSS Board will be scheduled for December/January and the calendar for 2018 meetings will also be determined.


Respectfully submitted by Natalie Green Giles, Secretary