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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Essex County Sheriff’s Department – Internal Controls Over Cash Receipts and Disbursements (2013M-35)


Released: April 19, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to examine the Sheriff’s Departments’ internal controls over cash receipts and disbursements for the period January 1, 2011, to September 30, 2012.

Background

Essex County is located in northeastern New York State and has a population of approximately 39,000. The County is governed by the Board of Supervisors which comprises 18 members, one of whom also serves as the Chairman of the Board. The County’s budgeted general fund expenditures for the 2012 fiscal year were $73.9 million.

Key Findings

Cash receipts and disbursements were not processed in accordance with the policy.

  • The civil clerk performed virtually all financial duties without sufficient oversight or other mitigating controls.
  • Bail and civil office cash receipts were not properly accounted for, secured, and deposited in a timely manner.
  • The civil clerk affixes the Sheriff’s signature to Department checks without his direct oversight or review.
  • Bank reconciliations were not prepared properly or timely.
  • The Department’s computer system allowed for the ability to modify and delete financial transactions.

Key Recommendations

  • Segregate cash receipts and disbursement duties.
  • Ensure that duplicate, press-numbered receipts are issued in sequence for all bail payments that are received at the jail and all civil office payments that are received in person at the civil office. Ensure that bail and civil office cash receipts that are collected are physically safeguarded, accessible to only authorized employees, and deposited timely.
  • Maintain control of the signature stamp.
  • Assign someone independent of the cash receipts and disbursement functions to perform accurate and timely monthly bank reconciliations.
  • Ensure that the Department’s computerized financial system is updated to prevent the modification and deletion of financial transactions and to provide for an adequate audit trail reports.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email: localgov@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236