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Comptroller To Perform Follow-Up Review Of Town Audit

The state Comptroller’s Office said it plans to perform a follow-up review of an audit performed on the town of Carroll. P-J photo by Carly Gould

FREWSBURG — The state Comptroller’s Office said it plans to review whether Carroll town officials implemented recommendations outlined in an audit performed five years ago.

The pending review is the result of two audit requests, made by town Supervisor Laura Smith and state Assemblyman Andy Goodell, in mid-July. Both sought the comptroller’s help in addressing the town’s accounting practices — issues town officials have been grappling with for several years.

Elliott Auerbach, deputy state comptroller, responded to Smith’s request in a letter dated Sept. 26. In it, Auerbach said: “Rather than performing another audit, I believe we can help you more quickly and effectively with a follow-up review on the original audit. To that end, I have directed auditors from my Buffalo office to follow up on whether the town has implemented the recommendations contained in our last audit report.”

“This will result in a written public report being sent to town officials, but require much less time than a full-blown audit. Being onsite for this review also will allow my auditors to assess whether there are other services which could help town officials including an audit, technical assistance or focused training officials.

“Your current concerns about the town’s financial records and reports are very similar to the findings reported by the Comptroller’s Office in its audit of the town five years ago. The town had inaccurate accounting records, inaccurate and incomplete financial reports and the town supervisor had not filed the town’s AUD for several years as well.”

Smith said she appreciated the quick response from the state Comptroller’s Office.

“I will soon be in contact with them to try and expedite their review,” she said. “I fully support and encourage the technical support and specialized training that the Comptroller’s Office is suggesting. I am confident that this review will confirm that the town of Carroll’s financial statements are complete and accurate and that it will allow us as a board to move forward in a positive direction.”

The previous audit, completed in 2014, looked at the town’s accounting records from Jan. 1, 2012, to May 22, 2013. The review found that the former town supervisor, Jack Jones Jr., did not maintain accurate bookkeeping records, resulting in “incomplete and inaccurate” accounting records.

“In addition, the supervisor did not adequately review the bookkeeper’s monthly bank reconciliations,” the 2014 audit said. “Consequently, the supervisor was unaware of the discrepancies that we identified in the accounting records. The supervisor also did not provide the board with all the financial information it needs to monitor the town’s financial operations, and the board did not conduct a proper audit of the town’s records.”

The comptroller’s audit also found that the town’s justices did not provide adequate oversight of court operations or the work performed by court clerks.

“In addition, the justices did not perform monthly accountabilities, and the court clerks did not deposit all cash receipts collected intact; i.e., in the same order and form (cash or check) in which they were received,” the audit said. “Further, we found that the court clerks did not remit all cash receipts to appropriate parties in a timely manner, did not always issue receipts for moneys collected for bail and did not report all tickets issued and fines and fees collected to the Justice Court Fund.”

The comptroller listed several recommendations for the town. Among them was ensuring that the town’s accounting records were complete, accurate and maintained “in a timely manner” in addition to filing Annual Update Documents required by the state.

Other recommendations included:

¯ ensuring that the supervisor provides the Town Board with a monthly report that includes an accounting of all cash receipts and disbursements;

¯ making sure that the Town Board conducts a comprehensive annual audit of the financial records of all officers who receive or disburse town funds and documents;

¯ requiring that the town justices perform monthly accountabilities and investigate and resolve any discrepancies;

¯ ensuring that the court clerks prepare receipts for all money collected and remit the money to appropriate parties, including remitting court revenues to the town in a timely manner;

¯ requiring that the Town Board performs a thorough audit of the court’s records on an annual basis and document evidence of the audit.

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