The New York Power Authority spent $160,000 on parties for its workers over two-and-a-half years while providing complimentary AARP memberships to its retirees, an audit by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office found.

The audit, which was released today, looked at the authority’s discretionary spending, service contracts and borrowing costs between the beginning of 2009 and June 21 of this year, finding all of those areas to be “generally acceptable.”

But DiNapoli’s office questioned whether $340,000 in certain costs “represents the best use of public funds particularly during what are difficult fiscal times for New York State.”

Among the expenses were food bills between $9,100 and $9,500 for annual in-house holiday parties at the Clarence D. Rappleyea Building, the Power Authority’s headquarters in White Plains, Westchester County.

In all, the authority threw 21 holiday parties and picnics for current and retired employees and their guests during the 30-month period, according to the audit.

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