City of Cortland – Non-Contractual Employees’ Payroll Benefits (2020M-161)

Issued Date
August 27, 2021

[read complete report - pdf]

Audit Objective

Determine whether the City of Cortland’s (City) non-contractual (NC) employees’ payroll benefits were authorized and accurate.

Key Findings

Two OSC audits issued in 2010 found NC employees received benefits inconsistent with Council approvals. Most of the prior control weaknesses remain and the Council still has not established specific leave benefits of NC employees. As a result, we found:

  • Seven NC employees earned 2,213 more hours of leave than employees in the collective bargaining agreements, valued at $110,500.
  • Four NC employees were paid for 265 more hours of unused vacation leave than limits established for employees in the collective bargaining agreements, valued at $13,700.
  • The Mayor did not require department heads to track their time worked or to submit leave requests for taking time off, and the Council did not approve all leave drawdown payments.
  • The Director of Administration and Finance and City Attorney did not track their time worked or charge leave accruals when off, and sold excess hours totaling $5,800 and $4,900, respectively.

In addition, the City paid $59,500 to provide health insurance for two Council members without proper approval and establishment of eligibility requirements and contribution rates.

Key Recommendation

  • Clearly define the benefits that all officials and NC employees are entitled to and properly track time worked and adhere to provisions in the City Charter, Code of Ordinances (Code) and CBAs.

City officials generally agreed with our recommendations and indicated they will take corrective action.