DiNapoli: Town Officials Failed to Provide Proper Oversight of North Greenbush Water District Project
North Greenbush town officials Board failed to exercise their individual and collective responsibilities to adequately monitor the Water District #14 construction project, according to an audit released by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. DiNapoli’s audit noted that the project is already $268,000 over budget and when the project is finally completed overruns will likely approach $800,000.
The town board had originally proposed to spend $7.1 million in 2005. The audit covered the period January 2003 to January 2007.
“Unfortunately, this project was mismanaged almost from the beginning,” DiNapoli said. “This was compounded by the departure of several town officials, including the town supervisor, town comptroller and a number of board members, during the project period.”
Auditors noted that town officials didn’t properly plan and manage the district’s construction project from its inception. There was little, if any, coordination between the town board, town comptroller and building department in monitoring the project’s budget. The board had not implemented policies designed to ensure proper oversight of the project such as requiring the submission of periodic construction progress reports by the town comptroller. Additionally, the town comptroller did not sufficiently audit project expenditures or monitor the project budget.
To correct the problems identified in the audit, and to be sure these errors are not repeated in the future, DiNapoli recommended that town officials:
- properly plan and monitor capital projects and account for their expenses on a regular basis;
- ensure that accounting records are accurate and that reports are sent to the town board and supervisor for review; and
- ensure that the duties of the town comptroller are clearly spelled out and that more than one person is responsible for all phases of the town’s financial transactions.
Town officials generally agreed with DiNapoli’s recommendations and indicated they would take corrective action. Click here for a copy of the audit.