New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of Allegany County, City of Batavia, Caton No. 1 Fire District, Town of Henrietta, Village of Middleport, Slaterville Springs Fire District and the Village of Westbury.
“In today’s fiscal climate, budget transparency and accountability for our local communities is a top priority,” said DiNapoli. “By auditing municipal finances and operations, my office continues to provide taxpayers the assurance that their money is being spent appropriately and effectively.”
Auditors found numerous weaknesses in controls over payroll processing and the maintenance of time and attendance records within the sheriff’s office. Control weaknesses allowed two administrative employees to receive more than $56,000 in overtime pay without pre-approval and proper supporting documentation. In addition, the county purchased more than 2,100 prescription medications totaling about $198,000 for inmates from a local pharmacy without the benefit of competition or obtaining price quotes.
The city did not properly award all contracts and has not annually reviewed the procurement policy, as required by law. Audits found that the city awarded contracts to four professional service providers without evidence of any cost benefit analysis. Payments to these vendors totaled $260,987 during the audit period.
The board did not establish or implement adequate internal controls to properly oversee the district’s financial operations. As a result, the district incurred operating surpluses and retained unexpended surplus funds totaling more than $270,000, or 169 percent of the budgeted appropriations, in 2013. In addition, the board did not adequately segregate the treasurer’s duties or implement compensating controls such as performing an annual audit of her records and reports.
The town board adopted budgets that were not based on sound and realistic estimates of revenues and expenditures, and the town has accumulated a significant amount of unexpended surplus funds. Also, the board did not provide sufficient oversight over financial operations or establish and monitor policies and procedures to help ensure that the supervisor properly accounted for all financial activity and adequately segregated financial duties.
The clerk-treasurer properly billed, collected and deposited water and sewer rents. However, audits found significant control deficiencies. The clerk-treasurer’s records were not up-to-date to reflect the village’s current financial position. Auditors also found any employee in the clerk-treasurer’s office could handle all aspects of a financial transaction.
The district board lacked some key components to ensure that financial activity was properly recorded and reported. In addition, the district treasurer has not filed the required annual financial report with OSC for the last three years.
Village personnel did not always obtain and document verbal or written quotes before purchasing goods and services as required by the village’s procurement policy. In addition, village officials have not established sufficient internal controls over key components of the village’s information technology system, including the safeguarding of computerized financial data against unauthorized access or potential loss, data backup, monitoring of remote-access users and server room security.