Lyons’s administration did not do its job

To The Editor:

In response to a scathing audit report issued by the New York State Office of the State Comptroller, Berne Supervisor Sean Lyons accuses Dawn Jordan and me of commissioning and customizing the comptroller’s report [“Berne board mismanaged finances, state comptroller says”].

In this, Mr. Lyons is either mistaken or dishonest. Ms. Jordan and I had nothing to do with the report, and nothing to do with town government at all since December 2019.

With no help from us, Mr. Lyons and his administration orchestrated the illegal and irresponsible financial mismanagement so carefully detailed in the report.

The Berne Town Board “exceeded its authority,” compiled financial records that were “sorely inaccurate,” failed to perform proper bank reconciliations for months, “did not annually audit or cause the audit of records of the Supervisor, Town Clerk, Tax Collector or Code Enforcement Officer,” and failed to allow the town board its legally mandated financial oversight.

They couldn’t even manage to pay the town’s credit card bill on time.

According to the report, Mr. Dennis Palow, the town’s deputy supervisor, “did not perform a proper review of the bank reconciliations to make sure adjusted bank balances agreed to general ledger reports.”

Compounding Mr. Palow’s and the senior account clerk’s reconciliation problem, Ms. Anita Clayton, the town clerk, failed to record three of six approved financial abstracts in the town board minutes, thereby denying the public as well as town board members of important financial information.

Mr. Lyons points proudly to the fact that 67 percent of the bank statements were 74 percent accurate and prepared properly. That’s like a school child coming home, proudly announcing he got a D, and expecting to be praised for his hard work.

What is evident here, by an objective assessment, by an outside agency, is that this administration did not meet its responsibilities and did not do its job. They have cost the town money, have no understanding of the town’s actual financial position, and have not allowed the town board access to the information they are legally responsible for overseeing.

We elected these people in 2019. They did things their way. We shouldn’t elect them again.

Karen Schimmer


Editor’s note: Karen Schimmer and Dawn Jordan are Democrats who did not seek re-election to the Berne Town Board, leaving office in December 2019.

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