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July 29, 2011

 

Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits for the Chestertown Fire District, the City of Gloversville, the Town of Lake Luzerne and the Pine Hill Fire District #5.

"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."

Chestertown Fire District - Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (Warren County)
The board neither ensured that the treasurer's duties were segregated nor implemented effective compensating controls. The treasurer performed virtually every aspect of cash receipts and disbursement transactions with only minimal oversight. Additionally, the treasurer did not perform bank reconciliations properly or in a timely manner, and failed to provide adequate monthly financial reports. The board did not perform a proper audit of claims, resulting in the district paying 62 claims totaling $149,821 prior to the board's approval. The district also inappropriately used debit cards to purchase items, and fraudulent deductions were made from the district's checking account.

Town of Lake Luzerne - Internal Controls Over Information Technology (Warren County)
Auditors found areas in need of improvement concerning information technology controls. Because of the sensitivity of this information, certain vulnerabilities are not discussed in this report, but have been communicated confidentially to town officials so they could take corrective action.

City of Gloversville - Financial Condition and Payments for Accrued Leave (Fulton County)
During the audit period of fiscal years 2008 and 2009, the city council adopted realistic budgets that allowed the city to maintain reasonable levels of fund balance. Auditors found that city officials balanced the 2010 budget by increasing real property taxes and relying on the use of fund balance. However, recently received financial information from the city disclosed that conservative budget estimates allowed the city to end the 2010 fiscal year without using fund balance. The 2011 budget also includes increases to real property taxes; however, the city has now exhausted 97 percent of its constitutional tax limit. Finally, city officials and employees were paid for leave time that they were not entitled to, and they did not always earn leave according to their city-authorized benefits. Approximately $28,270 in payments for leave were unsupported by contract or resolution.  

Pine Hill Fire District #5 - Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (Erie County)
In 2009 and 2010, the district improperly paid more than $16,000 to certain commissioners whom the board appointed to paid positions in violation of its code of ethics and/or statute. During the same period, the district paid more than $8,000 in travel expenses that included excessive mileage reimbursement and per diem expenses that exceeded GSA rates. These problems occurred because the board circumvented and/or disregarded policies, control procedures and statutes. As a result, certain commissioners were enriched at district expense. The district also failed to distribute more than $17,000 in foreign fire tax moneys that it received over an eight-year period, as required by law.


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