Comptroller's audit commends village on proper procedures

VOORHEESVILLE — The state comptroller’s office, in an audit released this week, found no problems with the way the village processes claims.

“Generally, the Village’s internal controls over claims processing were adequate to ensure claims were for appropriate purposes, adequately supported and properly audited and approved,” the 10-page audit report states.

Mayor Robert Conway, in a written response, said the village was pleased the audit had found no deficiencies, and he credited past recommendations from the comptroller’s office in helping the village to achieve its current status.

Voorheesville’s chief financial officer, the custodian of village money, Clerk-Treasurer Linda Pasquali, said yesterday, “We were pleased. We’ve worked hard to get to this point.”

She and the deputy clerk-treasurer, Karen Finnessey, annually attend training sessions offered by the State Comptroller’s Office and the New York Conference of Mayors, she said.

A comptroller’s audit was underway 10 years ago, Pasquali said, when she first started her job. “I listened and took notes,” she said.

She and Finnessey are now maintaining manuals on financial procedures, she said, that both inform them and will be left behind for those who may fill their jobs in the future.

“We’re working hard for the taxpayers,” said Pasquali. “We all work well together,” she said of staff and the elected board.

Pasquali concluded, “With the governor’s push for dissolution of villages, we want to keep the village here.”

The comptroller’s office conducts regular audits of local governments across the state and said the purpose of this audit was to answer the question, “Did Village officials establish adequate internal controls over claims processing?”

An initial assessment of the internal controls evaluated financial oversight, cash receipts and disbursements, purchasing, claims processing, payroll and personal services, and information technology.

Controls appeared to be adequate, the auditors found, continuing, “We determined that risk existed in the claims processing area and, therefore, we examined internal controls over claims processing for the period June 1, 2012 through March 31, 2014.”

During that time, Voorheesville processed and paid 1,241 claims totaling about $2 million. The 2.14-square-mile village with about 2,800 residents, had a budget in 2013-14 of $2.1 million.

The auditors reviewed 50 claims totaling $82,144 “to ensure that they were properly supported and for appropriate Village purposes,” and concluded, “Except for minor deficiencies, which were discussed with Village officials, we found all claims were for appropriate Village purposes.”

The auditors also found that the claims were supported by itemized invoices or receipts and pre-numbered vouchers that were signed by an authorized official, indicating the goods or services were received.

All 50 claims were included on abstracts presented to the board for audit, and the board audited and approved 49 of the 50 claims, totaling $74,771, before the payment of the claims.

The remaining claim, for $7,373, was for utility services and was authorized by board resolution to be paid prior to audit and was appropriately audited and approved by the board subsequent to payment, the report said.

The report concludes, “We commend Village management on developing and implementing controls to provide assurance that Village purchases are properly reviewed and approved prior to payment.”

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