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December 13, 2011


DiNapoli's Office Completes Municipal Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed the audits of the Village of Harriman, Ontario County Probation Department and the Seneca County Probation Department.

"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 Harriman - Clerk-Treasurer's Records (Orange County)
Officials did not provide the necessary oversight to ensure that internal controls over the village's financial operations were appropriately designed or operating effectively. The clerk-treasurer's duties were not segregated, permitting her to control all key aspects of financial activity. The cash disbursement records were not accurate and did not follow generally accepted accounting procedures. An independent audit of the village's records did not identify basic recordkeeping deficiencies that should have been addressed and corrected by officials.

Ontario County Probation Department - Internal Controls Over Financial Operations
Due to poor internal controls and a lack of management oversight, the department did not properly disburse unpaid restitution to long-standing unpaid victims, establish or monitor collection enforcement procedures, or assess administrative fees in a consistent and equitable manner. For example, no money has been disbursed since 2006 from the unpaid victims' fund, which had a reported balance of $14,198 in June 2010. In 2008, 2009, and 2010, probation officers received reports of accounts in arrears only sporadically or not at all, and only one of eight eligible cases in the test received the required collection warning letters. Finally, department staff stopped assessing DWI administrative fees altogether in May 2010, pending a fee schedule update, without the director's knowledge or guidance. As a result, the department received nearly $3,000 less (50 percent) in DWI surcharges in 2010 than in 2009.

Seneca County Probation Department - Internal Controls Over Financial Operations
The department did not comply with statutory requirements to establish and implement written procedures for distributing undisbursed restitution, and did not require the account clerk to maintain an ongoing list of undisbursed restitution. The last payment from the unpaid victims' fund was in 1998. A reconciliation of the bank balance to liabilities, as of October 31, 2010, found $19,247 in the bank that was not clearly accounted for, and identified a shortage of $1,707. Additionally, enforcement of past due accounts is ineffective, resulting in a significant amount of uncollected accounts; 18 of the 20 delinquent cases in our review did not receive any collection letters, and the department failed to notify the courts, as required, of the delinquencies. The department also did not comply with a local law by charging only a $10 DWI supervision fee instead of $30, resulting in a loss of revenue. In 2010 the department collected only $2,910 in such fees, essentially equivalent to not collecting the fees at all from 73 percent of its DWI probationers.


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