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Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Town of Plainfield – Financial Operations (2012M-58)


Released: July 20, 2012 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review the Town's financial operations for the period January 1, 2010, to November 28, 2011.

Background

The Town of Plainfield is located in Otsego County. The Town Supervisor is both the Chief Executive Officer and the Chief Financial Officer, while the Town Board is the legislative and policy-setting body of the Town. The Town's disbursements in 2011 totaled approximately $744,000.

Key Findings

  • The former Supervisor incorrectly recorded expenditures as assets and prepared bank reconciliations that had cash differences up to $50,000. In addition, he recorded liabilities, outstanding checks and deposits in transit totaling $255,000 that were not substantiated.
  • The former Supervisor prepared monthly reports that did not include cash balances and did not file annual financial reports since 2004.
  • The Board did not audit his records and reports for 2010 until December 2011, and the audit did not include revenues or cash balances.
  • The former Supervisor recorded seven checks totaling $6,300 that did not have adequate supporting documentation. Although the checks were written to vendors that the Town normally conducted business with, the checks did not clear the bank during our audit period. In addition, they were not listed as outstanding on the bank reconciliations, and were not voided and retained on file.
  • Nearly $6,000 in bank fees were drawn from Town bank accounts without the Board's knowledge or approval. These fees were for analysis reports of bank activity that the former Supervisor had received.

Key Recommendations

  • Ensure the Supervisor properly records expenditures and substantiates the amounts he reports for liabilities and cash and prepares accurate bank reconciliations.
  • Require the Supervisor to include cash balances in his monthly reports. Ensure that the Supervisor files annual financial reports with OSC and the Board within 60 days of the close of the fiscal year.
  • Audit the Supervisor's records and reports within 20 days of the close of each fiscal year.
  • Determine the status of the checks recorded in the accounting records and verify their legitimacy in the event they represent actual expenditures.
  • Evaluate the usefulness of the bank analysis reports given the cost of this service.

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