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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 LaGrange – Selected Financial Activities (2013M-107)


Released: July 12, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to examine potential cost savings and internal controls over the Town’s financial operations for the period January 1, 2011, through September 30, 2012.

Background

The Town of LaGrange is located in Dutchess County and serves approximately 15,700 residents. The Town is governed by the Town Board which comprises the Town Supervisor and four Board members. The Town’s 2011 and 2012 budgeted appropriations for all funds were approximately $10 million and $10.1 million, respectively.

The Town has two Justices; each Justice has a clerk to assist them. The Court received $146,479 of bail money and $903,837 in fines and surcharges during our audit period.

Key Findings

  • We found that the Town could potentially save as much as $7,000 annually if it used assets that it already owns to process and print payroll checks in house rather than using a contractor to process payroll.
  • Town officials cannot identify which of the two justice clerks performed a transaction because their system identifications were identical. Also, we identified 36 cases that were deleted from the Court’s system; the reasons for the deletions were not documented. Further, 166 cases were not reported to the State Comptroller’s Justice Court Fund.
  • The Town also did not implement a comprehensive data back-up procedure. We found inappropriate use of the Town’s computers at the highway department. Town officials did not ensure that user access rights were terminated upon separation from service, and users did not log off the system when they were not using it.

Key Recommendations

  • Consider using the payroll module included in the accounting software to process the Town’s payroll.
  • Ensure that the clerks’ records have unique identifications as to who entered information. Ensure that the clerks document the reason for deletion of cases and ensure that all tickets issued are processed. Ensure that the clerks follow up on adjourned in contemplation of dismissal (ACD) cases and report all cases to the Justice Court Fund.
  • Ensure that back-up data is kept at an offsite location. Use web filters to limit internet access. Develop and adopt a policy and procedure for the deactivation of user accounts as soon as employees leave Town service. Develop a comprehensive IT policy and procedures to properly secure the Town’s computer systems.

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