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NEWS from the Office of the New York State Comptroller
Contact: Press Office 518-474-4015

State Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

September 20, 2022

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced the following local government audits were issued.

Binghamton Housing Authority – Oversight of Financial Operations (Broome County)

The board and director did not provide adequate oversight of financial operations. The board did not adopt written policies and the director did not develop proper internal controls over cash disbursements and electronic payments or financial system user access. As a result job duties were either not properly separated or not adequately separated for rent receipts and cash disbursements. Payments totaling approximately $152,000 (22%) were not approved by anyone other than the employee initiating the charge. Financial system user access was not properly administered; all nine users had access to all of the financial modules in the system and a user could make unauthorized changes to cover inappropriate transactions without detection.

Copiague Fire District – Mechanic Shop Operations (Suffolk County)

The board and district officials did not adequately monitor the shop’s financial condition or safeguard district assets, resulting in a 36-month operational deficit totaling $676,389. As a result, district taxpayers are paying for the majority of the costs for providing services that do not benefit them. The board allows shop employees to use the shop and equipment for personal business. Auditors observed the senior mechanic fixing six privately-owned vehicles during normal business hours; he earned overtime on some of these days. Over a 34-month period, the senior mechanic was paid $40,971 in overtime. The board also provided the senior mechanic with a vehicle for personal use as a fringe benefit. Shop employees used at least $5,365 of district funds to purchase auto parts to repair vehicles not owned by the district. Auditors also examined one parts invoice where 81 parts were purchased; however, for 72 parts totaling $3,208, they could not determine what vehicles were repaired or whether the cost of the parts were recovered from the vehicle owners.

Town of Hempstead – Vehicles and Fuel Usage (Nassau County)

Town officials did not adequately monitor town vehicles and fuel usage. As a result, town officials did not know if town vehicles and fuel were only used for town business. Officials did not maintain adequate and centralized vehicle inventory records and properly secure vehicle titles. Officials also did not document eligibility procedures when authorizing take-home vehicles, including the justification or rationale for assigning them. Furthermore, officials also did not review fuel usage to monitor and identify unusual usage.

Town of Saratoga – Budgeting and Fund Balance Management (Saratoga County)

The board did not adopt realistic budgets or effectively manage fund balance. The board also adopted annual budgets expecting operating deficits totaling $1,041,991 in the three main operating funds, however, operating surpluses totaling $839,465 occurred. The board maintained unrestricted fund balances that were 97%, 770% and 50% of the ensuing year’s appropriations as of December 31, 2021 in the town-wide (TW) general, town-outside-village (TOV) general and TOV highway funds, respectively.

Track state and local government spending at Open Book New York. Under State Comptroller DiNapoli’s open data initiative, search millions of state and local government financial records, track state contracts, and find commonly requested data.