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May 12, 2010

DiNapoli: Lenox Needs to Manage Taxpayer Money Better

Town didn’t follow procurement policies, unauthorized pay raises given

The Town of Lenox didn’t seek the best price for professional services and gasoline, and certain employees received unauthorized raises, according to a report released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

"It’s the town board’s responsibility to protect every taxpayer dime,” DiNapoli said. “To ensure this is happening, contracts should be competitively bid and no employee should receive pay that they’re not entitled to. With these processes in place, taxpayer dollars will be used in the most efficient and meaningful way possible.” The audit covered the period January 2008 to June 2009.

DiNapoli’s auditors stated that the town could have saved $6,400 if had followed its own fuel purchasing policy and purchased the fuel on an Office of General Services contract. Further, auditors noted that because the town did not seek competitive bids for the $55,000 in professional services purchased, there is no way of assuring that taxpayers received the best deals possible.

DiNapoli’s auditors also found that the town made unauthorized salary and separation payments totaling more than $4,000 and provided payments and services totaling more than $18,000 to organizations without contracts or ensuring a valid town purpose.

DiNapoli recommended that town officials and board members:

  • Ensure that highway employees are paid wage rates authorized by the board and establish a review process to compare separation payment calculations to the town’s employment policy provisions prior to making payments to employees leaving town employment;
  • Ensure that competitive bids are solicited for fuel purchases and that all town employees and officials involved in the procurement process follow the town’s procurement policy;
  • Revise the town’s procurement policy to ensure that it provides guidance for soliciting competition when procuring professional services; and
  • Enter into written agreements or pass resolutions for all current and future professional services, detailing the services to be provided and the compensation for those services.

Town officials generally agreed with DiNapoli’s recommendations, and have already taken corrective action.

Click here for a copy of the report visit.


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