ABOUT MICHAEL SZUKALA
Mike Szukala was appointed as County’s first Medicaid Inspector General on Tuesday, September 4, 2012. Mr. Szukala is a Certified Internal Auditor with more than 28 years of governmental accounting and auditing experience and, most recently, has served as the Erie County Deputy Comptroller-Audit from 2006 through September of 2012.
Under his leadership, the Comptroller’s Audit Division was molded into an inspector-general type organization that has completed more than 60 audits and reviews identifying more than $30 million in tax dollar savings. In 2007, the Division was awarded the Association of Local Government Auditors’ prestigious Bronze Knighton Award for excellence within the governmental auditing profession for an audit of the Erie County Holding Center and Correctional facility. Erie County is the only New York State municipality to ever win the award, and has been nominated seven (7) additional times.
Additionally, Mr. Szukala implemented the Erie County Waste, Fraud, and Abuse Tip Line, which has responded to more than 300 anonymous tips from taxpayers since 2008, and has acted as Secretary to the Erie County Audit Committee, the Charter-mandated board tasked with selecting the County’s external auditor and reporting on the implementation of recommendations.
Mr. Szukala, who possesses a Masters in Business Administration from SUNY at Buffalo as well as a Bachelors’ of Science in Accounting from the University of Dayton, has also served in a series of positions within the City of Buffalo Comptroller’s Office and the Buffalo Board of Education from 1988-2006.
Since September 1, 2012, operating under agreements with OMIG, Mr. Szukala has lead Erie County’s Medicaid Inspector General Team (“MIG Team”) to the completion of (or in the process of completing) forty-one (41) audits. These audits cover more than $99 million in Medicaid payments. The results of those audits have been submitted to OMIG, as per the agreements, for follow-up and action by the State.
The MIG Team has completed, or is in the process of completing, audits of transportation providers, pharmacies, assisted living program providers and durable medical equipment (“DME”) providers.
The MIG Team continues to work on a variety of projects and cooperate with OMIG and law enforcement agencies as required and/or necessary. Under the County’s agreements with OMIG and other State agencies, the MIG Team is restricted from commenting on ongoing or recently completed Medicaid audits while OMIG reviews the results and considers State action.
The MIG Team, which features three employees, is funded through the State under a 2012 agreement.
Michael R. Szukala, MBA, CIA
- More than 20 years of government audit and accounting experience;
- Experienced Medicaid auditor through the NYS Medicaid County Pilot Program;
- SALIENT and PADS user; and
- Comfortable working with elected officials and speaking before legislative bodies.
Manager of the New York State Office of Medicaid Inspector General Pilot Medicaid Program in Erie County – 9/2012 to Present
- Performed or in the process of performing more than 40 audits as per OMIG protocols since September 2012. These audits cover more than $99 million in Medicaid payments;
- Released five reports covering Medicaid’s impact on Erie County, including breakdowns of Medicaid data by various demographic and medical factors;
- Coordinate with the FBI, DEA, OMIG, and various insurance agencies as part of Erie County’s Medicaid Anti-Fraud Task Force. The group coordinates resources and activities in the fight to prevent and prosecute Medicaid fraud in Erie County; and
- Investigate complaints and allegations from the general public, Medicaid vendors, and other government agencies of Medicaid fraud within Erie County.
Deputy Comptroller – Audit at Erie County, New York – 1/2006 to 9/2012.
Chief Audit Executive (“CAE”) for Erie County, New York, a $1.4 billion dollar government.
- Awarded the 2007 Bronze Knighton Award by the Association of Local Government Auditors for excellence within the governmental audit profession. In 2007, Erie County was the first New York State municipality to ever win a Knighton award;
- Completed 59 audits or reviews which included 260 recommendations and identified more than $29 million in savings to the taxpayers of Erie County;
- Successfully passed two independent “peer reviews” conducted by an outside group of auditors. Each of the firms found that the Division had fulfilled or exceeded the standards of conduct for the auditing profession; and
- Successfully built the most educated and professionally certified Audit division in Erie County government’s history. Prior to 2006 the Division had no staff with professional certifications or advanced degrees. By 2012, Division staff possessed a total of three MBA’s, two CPA’s, a CIA and a CMA.
My responsibilities as the CAE included:
- Developed audit policies for approval by the Comptroller, and implemented those policies;
- Developed the Annual Audit Plan, the list of audits and reviews performed by the Division;
- Acted as Secretary to the Erie County Audit Committee, a five-person charter-mandated board tasked with selecting the County’s external auditor and reporting on the implementation of recommendations made by the external auditor;
- Answered the Erie County Waste Fraud and Abuse Tip Line. An anonymous tip line with over 300 incidents reported;
- Supported the Comptroller by attending Legislative sessions, committee meetings and meetings with other elected officials as necessary;
- Interacted with Legislators, and to a lesser extent, the press, to advocate for Erie County, the Comptroller and his policies at the direction of the Comptroller;
- Recruited, retained and managed a staff of seven audit professionals;
- Reviewed the work product of the Division, including all workpapers, analysis, calculations and the final written document presented to the Legislature;
- Educated the staff on government auditing standards, and implementing procedures to confirm the standards were met or exceeded.
- Performed fieldwork, such as complex analysis, approval of workpapers, written report development and the collection of data, as needed;
- Insured the Division staff meet professional qualifications, including Continuing Professional Education credits (CPE’s);
- Maintained familiarity with the County’s SAP accounting and budgeting system that will allow the look-up of information, and the generation of reports;
- Represented the Comptroller’s Office at various groups outside county government. This includes attending meetings, writing articles and addressing groups; and
- Prepared the budget metrics for the Division.
Prior to 1/2006
Worked for the City of Buffalo and the Buffalo Board of Education in a variety of job titles. My experience with these employers includes:
- Prepared the “Cash Management Plan” for the Buffalo Board of Education detailing the sources and uses of more than $560 million for the fiscal year;
- Prepared the $100 million Capital Debt Budget for the City of Buffalo and Board of Education;
- Prepared the City of Buffalo’s Official Statement, an “evergreen” bond prospectus of over 120 pages detailing the City’s and the Board of Education’s financial status; and
- I was a Systems Analyst for the City of Buffalo, assisting in the implementation of a new accounting software package.
Small Business Experience
I am the Treasurer of the Hanzlian Sausage Corporation. Established in 1999, I am one of the original corporate officers. I wrote the original business plan. I have not only been responsible for day to day accounting tasks, but also for Federal and State tax filings. I have sold Hanzlian products at Farmer’s Markets throughout Western New York, including the Williamsville Market (across from Amherst Town Hall) and the Broadway Market at Easter. I understand the problems and pressures faced by the small businessperson.
I am a former member of and former Chairman to the Amherst Government Studies Committee. I was a member for three years, and the Chairman for three additional years. During that period the Committee reviewed a number of issues for the Amherst Town Board, including sidewalk snow plowing, salary increases for town justices, the potential sale of town golf courses and term limits for town elected officials.
I am Treasurer of the Amherst Industrial Development Agency Board. The AIDA can provide sale tax exemptions and property tax reductions to qualified businesses.
I am Chairman of the Erie County Industrial Development Agency Finance Committee.
Education and Certification
MBA from the SUNY Buffalo – 12/1996
BS from the University of Dayton – 12/1985 – Accounting with a Computer Science emphasis
I have my Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certificate.