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NYS Comptroller


Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Town of Sheridan – Cellular Phones (2013M-334)

Released: February 14, 2014 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to evaluate internal controls over cellular telephones for the period January 1, 2012 through October 11, 2013.


The Town of Sheridan is located in Chautauqua County. The Town is governed by an elected Town Board comprised of a Town Supervisor and four council members. For the 2013 fiscal year, budgeted appropriations totaled $501,792 for the general fund and $726,070 for the highway fund.

Key Findings

  • The Board did not adopt a policy governing the use of Town-provided cell phones. The Board determines on an as-requested basis which individuals are provided a Town cell phone, according to the Town Clerk. The Town does not have established written guidelines or documentation that shows the process or decisions made by the Board when providing individuals with Town cell phones.
  • While the Town provided cell phone service to Town officials and employees for job-related use, it also provided this service to individuals who did not perform any Town functions. Generally, the people allowed to have Town cell service were relatives of Town managers. By participating in the Town’s plans, these individuals generally paid only for the cost of an additional line (approximately $10), rather than the full access charges. Although the Town established some controls to be reimbursed for the cost of cell phone services provided to certain individuals, it lacked a policy or contract stating what amount should be reimbursed, when payments are due and what is to be done if someone does not reimburse the Town in a timely manner.

Key Recommendations

  • Adopt a formal cell phone use policy that clearly defines the Town officials and employees who should be provided a cell phone, what is acceptable use, and how reimbursement for unacceptable use is to be billed and paid for.
  • Stop the practice of providing cell phones to individuals not performing a Town-related function. Recover all outstanding reimbursement payments due for cell phone service.

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