New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of the
Bradford Volunteer Fire Company, Inc., Town of Conesville, New York State Department of Labor, Painted Post Fire Department, Sachem Public Library and Ulster County.
“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.”
After a referral from Steuben County District Attorney Brooks Baker, auditors found that controls were not adequate to ensure that financial activity was properly recorded and reported and that moneys were safeguarded. As a result, it appears the treasurer was able to misappropriate approximately $8,500 from January 1, 2014 through May 31, 2015. In addition, there was a shortage of $490 in bell jar proceeds that were controlled by the president without detection by company officials.
Town officials have allocated sufficient resources to properly maintain the town’s roads. However, they have not allocated sufficient resources for future highway equipment needs. The capital plan should incorporate the board’s decisions about when equipment should be replaced and whether to accumulate funds for replacement in reserves or take advantage of current low interest rates to finance acquisitions.
New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) – Unemployment Insurance Payments to County Jail Inmates (2015M-278)
NYSDOL does not have the necessary information to monitor county jail inmate populations effectively for inappropriate unemployment insurance benefit payments. Auditors found inmate data used was incomplete 28 percent of the time for county jail inmates outside of New York City and 55 percent of the time for city inmates. In addition, NYSDOL did not receive data from each county in each biweekly data file. Finally, while NYSDOL performs a data match on a biweekly basis for county jail inmates outside of New York City, payments of benefits are made weekly, allowing inappropriate payments to occur prior to the match.
The board should improve its oversight of the department’s fiscal activities and the safeguarding of its resources. The bylaws do not adequately segregate the treasurer’s duties. They require the treasurer to receive all department moneys, pay all bills and report the department’s financial status at regular department meetings; however, they do not provide for mitigating controls such as someone other than the treasurer reviewing and reconciling the bank accounts.
The board, as a whole, did not audit any claims during the audit period. Instead, each quarter, it designated a single trustee to audit all claims, after which the board, as a whole, reviewed and approved the abstracts by resolution. Any board member other than the trustee designated as claims auditor could request to review individual claims if there were questions about an unfamiliar vendors or unusual claim amounts on the abstracts; however, this did not often occur. A review of 30 claims totaling $147,624 disclosed that the designated trustee did not perform a thorough audit of claims. As a result, eight claims totaling $1,791 did not contain sufficient supporting documentation.
The department’s procedures for prorating property tax exemptions on transfers of property, correcting property tax exemption errors and inputting tax exemption income limits were effective.
For access to state and local government spending and 50,000 state contracts, visit OpenBookNY. The easy-to-use website was created by Comptroller DiNapoli to promote openness in government and provide taxpayers with better access to the financial workings of government.