ROSSIE -- Town Supervisor Wayne Knight and the town board have come in for criticism from the state comptroller's office in an audit of town finances.
"The town supervisor did not maintain accurate computerized accounting records and reports. In addition, the supervisor filed the town’s annual financial report with the Office of the State Comptroller 116 days late for 2008, 112 days late for 2009 and 374 days late for 2010. As of December 2012, the supervisor had not filed the annual financial report for 2011," a summary from the audit said.
As supervisor, Knight serves the town's fewer than 1,000 people as chief fiscal officer as well as chief executive.
Meanwhile, the town board "is responsible for overseeing the town’s operations and finances, including the audit and approval of claims prior to payment, and auditing the records of all town officers and employees who handle cash," the audit report explains.
"The Supervisor did not maintain accurate computerized accounting records and reports. Balance sheet amounts did not agree with general ledger amounts and the balance sheet included unsubstantiated liability accounts. For example, the balance sheet account and general ledger accounts for the general fund checking account balance at December 31, 2012 differed by $4,654. Because of these deficiencies, the Board did not have accurate information on which to base its financial decisions...In addition, the Board has not ensured that the records of all Town officials and employees who handle cash are properly audited on an annual basis. Such an audit would have helped to detect the discrepancies in the Supervisor’s records and allowed the Board to take corrective action," the report's summary said.
The report says no systematic audits are in place to substantiate payments.
"We reviewed 110 randomly selected disbursements totaling $142,058 and 121 high-risk disbursements totaling $47,698 and identified 80 exceptions, totaling $38,603. These exceptions included claims that bypassed the Board audit process, were inadequately audited by the Board, and lacked supporting documentation. When claims are not thoroughly audited and approved prior to payment, the risk is increased that payments could be made for non-Town purposes," the auditors said.
The auditors said they have discussed the problems with town officials and their responses were considered in preparing their report. But no one representing the town took the opportunity given to respond in writing within 30 days to the findings and recommendations. Such responses typically include acknowledgment of problems and of measures to improve compliance.
The auditors examined the town’s financial operations for the period Jan. 1, 2011, through Dec. 31, 2012.
"Although the minutes indicate that the Board reviewed monthly financial reports, the Board did not audit, or contract with an independent auditor to audit, the supporting records maintained by the Supervisor, Town Justice, Town Clerk, Tax Collector, or Code Enforcement Officer for the 2011 and 2012 fiscal years," the report said.