Wednesday, January 4, 2017

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Monticello officials failed to provide proper fiscal oversight, state audit says

MONTICELLO – Village board and village officials in Monticello did not perform the duties of their positions, which resulted in “significant village-wide dysfunction,” according to a preliminary report of an audit by the state comptroller’s office. The finding comes from a study of the village’s operations for the period of August 1, 2014 through April 6, 2016. The draft report was obtained by Mid-Hudson News.

The report found that when the treasurer and account clerk/deputy treasurer positions were vacant, the village board had the village clerk prepare the payroll. The clerk did not have the training to process payroll and as a result, she overpaid four employees over $8,600 and processed a duplicate payroll for 52 employees resulting in $149,100 in additional pay to which they were not entitled.

The audit also found the clerk did not properly issue receipts for all money received and did not deposit collections in the bank in a timely manner.

The review of village finances also found village departments “are operating without sufficient oversight or clear guidance on the lines of authority.”  It pointed to water rents, a major revenue source for the village. “We found that water bills are often generated on meter readings or estimated readings that did not appear to be reasonable,” the report said. “We found that 37 accounts had identical estimated readings for four consecutive billing cycles.”

The audit said the village has experienced “significant employee turnover in key positions” and noted that “the board’s lack of effective leadership has likely contributed to the significant turnover, which, in turn, added to the negative working environment.”

The village has no succession planning procedures to assure service continuity when the village experiences employee turnover, the auditors said. “Overall, these conditions place the village’s financial operations at high risk of abuse or errors and severely inhibits the village’s ability to ensure residents that services will be provided,” the study found.

We received the report late Tuesday night.

 


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