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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 & School Audits

March 29, 2024

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

Village of Cato – Water Financial Operations (Cayuga County)

The board and officials did not effectively manage the financial operations of the water fund, establish adequate reserves or develop long-term financial and capital plans until the Cayuga County Health Department forced the board to submit a plan. In addition, $42,696 in unauthorized billing adjustments were made. Of 464 water bills reviewed (totaling $134,852), 71 had calculation errors totaling $7,903 which included $6,607 that should have been billed and collected and $1,296 in overbillings. Auditors found 27% of the water produced (at a cost of approximately $20,000), or 9.4 million gallons, is considered unauthorized non-revenue water or lost water. In addition, long-term capital water needs were not appropriately planned for.

Clymer Central School District – Payroll (Chautauqua County)

Employee compensation payments were not always accurate, approved or supported. District officials did not ensure pay rates were accurate or that compensation was paid in compliance with employment agreements. As a result, payroll errors went undetected and resulted in unnecessary and erroneous payroll payments. District officials made compensation errors totaling $28,500 because they used incorrect pay rates or incorrect hours/days worked to calculate 16 employees’ pay and paid five employees a total of $4,792 for retroactive raises that were not authorized by the board of education. Officials also paid 16 employees perfect attendance awards totaling $2,550 that they were not eligible for and did not require written prior authorization for overtime work. Another 12 overtime payments totaling $1,858 were not supported with evidence of approval.

Deer Park Union Free School District – Fuel and Vehicle Inventory (Suffolk County)

District officials did not adequately maintain vehicle inventory or monitor fuel usage. As a result, vehicles and fuel were not properly accounted for. Officials did not maintain accurate inventory records of vehicle additions and disposals, and there were discrepancies with 19 vehicle inventory records. In addition. officials did not obtain board of education approval prior to disposing of vehicles, or promptly remove unused vehicles from insurance, resulting in $17,237 of unnecessary costs. Auditors also found 44,976 gallons of fuel was dispensed without identifying who pumped the fuel.

Green Tech High Charter School – Payroll (Albany County)

Officials did not accurately pay salaries and wages to 10 of the 67 employees reviewed and could not support payments made to 54 employees totaling $41,626. Officials made payroll calculation errors totaling $1,210 for 10 salaried employees and did not maintain time sheets or payroll status change forms documenting approved pay rates to support $7,220 in wages paid to three hourly employees reviewed. Officials also could not support approvals for miscellaneous payments totaling $16,706 made to seven employees or support class coverage payments totaling $17,700 made to 44 employees.

Garden City Union Free School District – Information Technology (IT) Asset Management (Nassau County)

District officials did not properly track or inventory IT assets, maintain complete IT inventory records or safeguard IT assets. As a result, officials cannot assure taxpayers that IT assets are adequately accounted for and would be detected if lost, stolen or misused. Auditors selected 60 IT assets from invoices and device management reports to confirm their location and that they were inventoried and 10 additional IT assets to confirm they were inventoried. They determined that 23% of the assets were not properly accounted for.

Inlet Common School District – Claims Processing (Hamilton County)

The claims reviewed were supported and for appropriate purposes but did not have evidence that they were audited and approved before payment. As a result, the district has an increased risk that unauthorized claims could be paid. The board and district officials did not provide effective oversight of claim processing and payment. Board members did not document the date that they authorized claims to be paid. In addition, district officials used a debit card to pay for 60 purchases totaling $6,840 that were not subject to board approval.

Lewis CountyCourt and Trust

Auditors reviewed the processes, procedures and records for the receipt and management of court and trust funds as well as estates in the treasurer’s custody and found that the treasurer generally established adequate procedures, maintained appropriate records, and properly reported court and trust funds. However, auditors identified $239 that improperly remained in the treasurer’s custody that should have been turned over to the State Comptroller as abandoned property.

Morley Volunteer Fire Company – Misappropriation of Funds (St. Lawrence County)

Company officials did not provide oversight of financial operations to ensure funds were safeguarded. As a result, the former treasurer was able to misappropriate $64,972 of company funds from January 2016 through Dec. 2019. The former treasurer was able to obtain cash totaling $45,400 by making inappropriate automated teller machine and in-bank withdrawals, writing unauthorized checks to herself and receiving cash from company funds presented for deposit and make 178 personal purchases totaling $19,572 using a company debit card. These improper transactions went undetected because company officials did not review monthly bank statements and canceled check images, receive monthly financial reports, audit bills prior to payment or compare cash collections to deposits. The former treasurer was arrested in July 2023 and pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the fourth degree in November 2023. She was sentenced to probation in January 2024 and ordered to pay $50,000 in restitution.

Shenendehowa Central School District – Longevity Payments (Saratoga County)

District officials did not ensure longevity payments for employees separating from service were accurate, supported and approved. District officials did not accurately calculate longevity payments for 26 of the 32 (81%) employees reviewed. As a result, 26 employees were underpaid a total of $9,214 in longevity for separation payments. Although employees covered by the Shenendehowa United Supervisors’ Association and Management Confidential collective bargaining agreements receive longevity payments, their agreements do not include language for these payments upon separation.