The City Council of Mount Vernon did not have adequate financial information for the effective management and fiscal oversight of city operations because officials failed to file annual financial reports, provide interim financial reports and issue audited statements. In addition, they did not have financial information available to develop multiyear financial or capital plans, according to an audit released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
“Our audit found city officials did not establish basic and routine financial policies and procedures to effectively manage city operations. The consequences were significant, reducing accountability to taxpayers and diminishing the city’s fiscal credibility,” DiNapoli said. “Mayor Patterson-Howard has accepted our recommendations, and we will continue to provide guidance for a more transparent financial account of the city’s finances during this difficult time. It is my hope that other city officials will work with the Mayor on implementing these recommendations. Taxpayers deserve to know how their money is being spent and that it is being spent in a fiscally responsible way.”
The audit found the city did not have adequate policies and procedures, lacking formal guidance for interim financial reporting, budget transfers and fund balance. For example, a policy regarding the maintenance and use of fund balance can help ensure funds are available to cover unanticipated expenditures or revenue shortfalls.
In addition, the audit found the Mount Vernon City Comptroller failed to file the required annual financial report (AUD) with DiNapoli’s office for fiscal years 2016 through 2019. The city council did not take sufficient action to acquire financial information, and no audited financial statements have been issued since the 2015 fiscal year because city officials have not provided their independent auditors with the necessary financial information. The scope of the audit covered January 1, 2018, to March 31, 2020.
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