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NYS Comptroller


Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Town of Shandaken – Payroll (2013M-201)

Released: October 2, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to assess the Town’s payroll process for the period January 1, 2012, to January 31, 2013.


The Town of Shandaken is located in Ulster County and has a population of about 3,100. The Town is governed by a Town Board (Board) that includes the Town Supervisor and four Board members. The Town’s general fund expenditures for the 2012 fiscal year totaled $3,035,009, of which $1,574,274 were for payroll-related expenditures.

Key Findings

  • The Secretary paid herself $5,538 that she was not authorized to receive and paid her husband, a Highway Department employee, $1,800 that he was not authorized to receive. We have referred our report to the proper authorities so that they could take appropriate action.
  • Employee healthcare contribution rates were miscalculated, resulting in employees paying incorrect amounts for their healthcare benefits.
  • We found errors in general fund employee payroll payments aggregating $2,484: $1,273 in over-payments and $931 in under-payments, because the number of hours worked were miscalculated.

Key Recommendations

  • Monitor the Secretary’s and secretary/bookkeeper’s duties, and audit disbursements, including payroll, made to employees. Consult with the Town attorney about possible recovery of the unauthorized payments received by the Secretary.
  • Ensure employee withholding amounts are accurate.
  • Certify the payroll by reviewing the payroll details prior to payment, including periodically reviewing salaries and hourly wage rates to ensure that they match Board-approved amounts, before pay checks are distributed. Consult with the Town attorney about possible recovery of the unpaid contribution amounts from employees who under-paid, as well as reimbursement of the amounts over-paid by other employees.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email:
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236