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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Town of Alexander – Internal Controls Over Justice Court Operations (2013M-195)


Released: October 4, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review the Town’s internal controls over Court operations for the period January 1, 2012, through June 12, 2013.

Background

The Town of Alexander (Town) is located in Genesee County and has a population of about 2,500. The Town Supervisor (Supervisor) serves as the Town’s chief executive officer. The Town Board (Board), comprised of the Supervisor and four council members, is the legislative body responsible for managing Town operations. The Town operates its Court with two Justices - Justice Edwyn Hise has presided since 1998 and Justice James Orr has presided since 2011. Each Justice has a Court clerk to assist with Court activity.

Key Findings

  • Neither Justice performs a monthly accountability analysis, issues appropriate duplicate receipts, or properly reports pending and disposed cases to DMV. Our review of Justice Hise’s records disclosed a $721 shortage in his account as of April 23, 2013. Also, Justice Hise did not deposit money in a timely manner, file accurate monthly reports, maintain an accurate listing of bail, or maintain a reliable cash receipts record. Our review of Justice Orr’s records disclosed minor deficiencies.
  • We also found internal control weaknesses with the Court’s recordkeeping software, which raises significant concern regarding the integrity of the Court’s data.
  • There was no indication that the Board conducted, or retained anyone to conduct, the required annual audit of the Justices’ records.

Key Recommendations

  • Maintain an accurate, up-to-date cash receipts record and an accounting for bail, as well as prepare bank reconciliations and accountability analyses on a monthly basis. Ensure that all moneys are deposited intact, in a timely manner. Submit accurate monthly reports to the JCF and remit the proper amount of moneys received by the Court to the Town Supervisor.
  • Assess the risk areas in the Court software (such as the ability to change records of receipt numbers) and develop compensating controls to mitigate these risks. Require that unique user names and passwords are used, that passwords are periodically changed, and that users do not share passwords.
  • Perform a thorough audit of the Court records on an annual basis. Evidence of an audit indicating the tests performed, the records reviewed and the results of the audit should be retained and noted in the Board minutes.

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