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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Albany County Probation Department – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (2013M-340)


Released: February 7, 2014 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to determine if the Department has adequate internal controls over its financial operations for the period January 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013.

Background

Albany County is located in eastern New York State and has a population of approximately 303,000. The County Legislature serves as the County’s policy-making body. The Legislature comprises 39 County Legislators. The Albany County Probation Department collected $464,508 and $542,187 in restitution, fines and fees during 2011 and 2012, respectively.

Key Findings

  • County officials have not ensured that the Department account clerks’ financial duties were adequately segregated. While our testing did not disclose material issues, the clerks’ ability to control all cash receipts and disbursement functions increases the risk that Department funds could be misappropriated without detection.
  • Although the Department has established policies for disbursing restitution money retained in a victims’ trust fund, Department officials have not disbursed these funds in a timely manner in accordance with the policy. As of July 2013, the balance in the victims’ trust fund totaled $130,707; this excessive balance precludes many crime victims of unsatisfied restitution orders from receiving the money to which they are entitled.
  • The Department’s software does not produce accurate accounts receivable aging reports, which hinders Department officials’ ability to monitor these accounts and take appropriate action.

Key Recommendations

  • Establish written policies and procedures that clearly assign and properly segregate duties, assign authority, and provide for periodic independent reconciliations and management oversight.
  • Keep the balance of the undisbursed restitution in the victims’ trust fund to a nominal amount by making more timely disbursements to those victims who have been unpaid for the longest period of time. Establish procedures for verifying that recipients of restitution payments are entitled to receive those payments.
  • Ensure that aging balances for each and every account are accurate and reliable.

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