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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 Prattsville – Justice Court (2012M-243)


Released: March 1, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review internal controls over the Court’s financial activity for the period January 1, 2011, to June 29, 2012.

Background

The Town of Prattsville is located in Greene County, and has a population of approximately 700. During our audit period, the Town had two elected Justices, Robert Blain and Donald Olson, who shared a court clerk. For the audit period, the Justices collected approximately $9,500 in fines, fees and surcharges.

Key Findings

  • Justices Blain and Olson did not perform bank reconciliations properly or at all, prepare monthly accountabilities, deposit cash receipts in a timely manner, adequately segregate the court clerk’s duties and provide proper oversight of the court clerk.
  • The court clerk improperly held partial payments, did not issue press-numbered receipts for all payments collected by the Court, and did not enter all moneys received into the Court’s accounting system.
  • Justice Blain had unidentified funds totaling $1,848 in his bank account that could not be traced to any open or closed case files, fines or fees, or bail moneys; and Justice Olson had a cash shortage totaling $852 which had not been detected or corrected.

Key Recommendations

  • Prepare a proper bank reconciliation and accountability analysis on a monthly basis. Ensure that deposits of all moneys received are made intact within 72 hours from the date of receipt, excluding Sundays and holidays. Establish policies and procedures to ensure an adequate segregation of cash custody and recordkeeping duties or institute compensating controls.
  • Report to the JCF partial payments of fines, fees and surcharges currently held by the Court, and report to the JCF future collections in the month received. Ensure that the collection of all moneys is promptly receipted, entered into the Court’s records, and reported.
  • With the assistance of the court clerk, review and analyze all open case files and bail records to determine if there are additional payments held that would affect the amount of calculated cash surplus and shortage amounts. Justice Blain should remit all unidentified moneys to the Town Supervisor, or the JCF, as appropriate.

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