New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of Champlain Joint Youth Program, Town of Colden, City of Corning, Franklinville Joint Fire District, City of Glens Falls, Town of Palatine, Town of St. Armand, Sullivan County and the Town of Tonawanda.
"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."
Current officials of the participating municipalities were unaware they had entered into an intermunicipal agreement establishing the Joint Youth Program. Consequently, auditors found that several agreement provisions were not adhered to. In addition, the program's agreement did not include provisions establishing adequate oversight of financial activities.
The superintendent made purchases without soliciting bids or quotes as required, which resulted in the town paying $8,800 more than necessary for a dump truck and purchasing $32,000 in road materials without obtaining competitive bids. In addition, the superintendent did not obtain quotes for $27,000 in tool and auto part purchases. The board also did not adopt a fleet management policy, and the superintendent did not keep up-to-date maintenance logs.
Auditors examined all 61 FFI expenditures totaling $34,822 during the audit period for adequate support, approvals and propriety and did not identify any concerns. However, the finance director did not prepare or file the 2015 and 2016 annual reports with the Office of the State Comptroller, as required by law.
The board has not adopted a written claims processing policy. The chief and assistant chiefs primarily used debit cards to purchase miscellaneous district equipment and supplies. Board resolutions approving claims for payment did not indicate the number or dollar amounts of claims that were audited and approved for payment.
City officials could better safeguard the city's water and wastewater systems. There is no formal process for staying current on system cybersecurity threats. Water and wastewater personnel do not receive alerts to such threats from key sources including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Industrial Control System Cyber Emergency Response Team or the Water Information Sharing and Analysis Center. The superintendent indicated that they rely on the city's third-party vendors for threat information. However, no evidence was found that such information is routinely shared.
The clerk issued duplicate receipts for clerk fees and recorded collections in the accounting system but did not record the form of collections in either record. The clerk also did not perform monthly bank reconciliations to verify the accuracy of town records or accountability analyses comparing cash on hand and on deposit to known liabilities.
Significant deficiencies were found within the town's accounting records. From 2010 through 2016, the town did not allocate sales tax revenue to its part-town funds to eliminate property tax levies in those funds before allocating any remaining sales tax revenue to its town-wide funds. As a result, $277,744 was improperly allocated to the town-wide general fund causing taxpayer inequities to occur.
The county could improve oversight for leave usage. At the time of the audit, the director of probation was under investigation for taking leave from work without charging his leave accruals. He was placed on unpaid administrative leave and reached a retirement settlement with the county that deducted 71 days from his remaining leave balances. Also, the county uses an electronic timekeeping system that records the times employees punch in and out and allows edits of timeclock times. Auditors tested 108 edits and found that 54 edits were not approved in writing by the employee's department head; 49 edits did not have support and 22 edits were done by the employees themselves.
The board did not adopt adequate written policies or ensure that an annual audit of the department was performed. The director did not develop procedures to segregate cash receipt duties or provide adequate oversight of the cash receipt function. A single employee had almost complete control over the cash receipt function without adequate oversight. Despite the risk created by these poor internal controls, recreation fees were generally recorded accurately and deposited in a timely fashion.
For access to state and local government spending, public authority financial data and information on 140,000 state contracts, visit Open Book New York. The easy-to-use website was created to promote transparency in government and provide taxpayers with better access to financial data.