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August 26, 2011

Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits for the Village of Esperance, Town of Fremont, Town of Piercefield and the Village of Sharon Springs.

"My office's audits of local governments improve their financial management practices," DiNapoli said. "These audits are tools for local officials to make sure proper policies and procedures are in place to protect taxpayer dollars and provide the best possible service these taxpayer dollars can deliver."

Village of Esperance - Board Oversight and Clerk-Treasurer's Responsibilities (Schoharie County)
The clerk-treasurer performed virtually all financial activities without oversight or independent review. The board did not perform an annual audit of the clerk-treasurer's records and reports. The clerk-treasurer did not maintain cash receipts or disbursements records for either the 2009-10 or 2010-11 fiscal years. She did not maintain a general ledger cash account and could not perform a proper reconciliation of bank statements. Over $25,000 in tax revenue was reported for the wrong month, and the village's cash position was overstated. In addition, the clerk-treasurer did not file the village's annual financial reports and Constitutional Tax Limit forms with the state Comptroller in a timely manner.

Town of Fremont - Justice Court (Steuben County)
The justice had an unidentified balance of $2,885 in the justice court's bank account, and his record of pending bail was overstated by $700. The justice collected $1,120 which he never deposited in the justice court bank account, and he did not deposit other court moneys collected in July, August, and September 2010 in a timely manner. The board did not audit or hire an IPA or CPA to conduct annual audits of the court's records and did not act on a CPA's recommendation to take an active role in inspecting the justice's records.

Town of Piercefield - Justice Court (St. Lawrence County)
The former justice did not prepare bank reconciliations and accountabilities reconciling court assets to known liabilities. She did not file monthly reports on time, if at all. The justice failed to finalize and turn over her records as required when she resigned. After the justice left office, the succeeding justice indicated that the county District Attorney had no alternative but to dismiss 51 tickets as too old to prosecute, and there were an additional 48 tickets pending dismissal. The former justice also did not present her records for audit to the board.

Village of Sharon Springs - Clerk-Treasurer's Office Operations (Schoharie County)
Due to a lack of oversight, the clerk-treasurer was able to increase her pay and give herself health benefits to which she was not entitled that cost taxpayers more than $5,000. The board and the mayor have not designed controls over the office of the clerk-treasurer to ensure the proper accounting of cash receipts and disbursement of wages and benefits. The board has not adequately segregated the clerk-treasurer's duties, required records and reports, or performed the required annual audit.

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