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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 Seneca Falls – Justice Court (2013M-89)


Released: June 28, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review internal controls over the Court’s financial operations for the period January 1, 2012 to March 4, 2013.

Background

The Town of Seneca Falls is located in Seneca County, has a population of approximately 9,000 and is the home of the National Women’s Hall of Fame. The Town is governed by an elected Town Board consisting of the Town Supervisor and four Board members. During 2012, the Court collected $324,790 in fines and surcharges.

Key Findings

  • The Justice was absent for the majority of our audit period; during this time, the Court operated with three temporarily assigned Justices. We found that important recordkeeping functions were not performed to ensure accountability over the Court’s records. Specifically, the Justice and assigned Justices did not review bank statements or reconciliations, and did not review system activity to detect and correct errors.
  • The assigned Justices did not maintain separate bank accounts to track incoming Court moneys, and the Justice and assigned Justices did not personally submit their monthly reports to JCF or ensure that the monthly reports were submitted timely to OSC.
  • The Board does not ensure that a timely annual audit of the Court’s books and records is performed.

Key Recommendations

  • Review reconciliations and analyses of Court liabilities performed by the Court clerks. Review an audit log generated by the Court’s database management system, or a manual log maintained by the Justices and clerks, that documents the reason for all changes and/or deletions made within the system.
  • Open individual bank accounts for each assigned justice for deposits of Court moneys. File individual monthly reports for assigned justices that include all Court activity for cases that they personally presided over.
  • Perform, or cause to be performed, a timely annual audit of the Justices’ books and document evidence indicating the audit steps performed, records reviewed, and the results of the audit 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