The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

Local News

July 24, 2013

Gaines Town Board approves forensic audit

Medina Journal-Register — GAINES - For the first time in six years, the Town of Gaines listed to an audit of itself on Tuesday night.

Supervisor Carol Culhane said it is common practice for most municipalities to have itself audited annually. She said Tuesday’s report represented a “new beginning.”

“The audit shows specific concerns to be addressed,” she stated.

Randall Shepard, an accountant with Bonadio and Co., LLP, presented the preliminary audit to the town. While he said many items in the town’s purview did not have too many deficiencies and merely needed to be updated, one sticking point brought concern to the town board members.

Specifically, Shepard said that during the course of the audit he was made aware of some “potential fraudulent situations occurring in the town.” He said the audit was not designed to detect fraud.

However, he told the town board, “There is enough concern and we want to raise the matter to you.”

Shepard said part of the reason he was concerned about fraud was the fact that he was unable to fully audit the town’s payroll due to a lack of “comfort” with the figures provided.

“Things happen in municipalities when controls are not in place,” he stated. The controls he referred to are the town’s payroll procedures, which include both handwritten time cards and punch-clock time cards. 

He also mentioned there were other instances of “weaknesses in internal control” that led to other budgetary areas with no formal opinions. 

Shepard said that 13 employees were looked at during the audit, over two different pay periods. He said several deficiencies were found in the payroll process. Some discrepancies were found regarding overtime paid for some employees and others getting paid for hours that were not worked.

The punch cards were also inconsistently calculated, Shepard said, which sometimes led to employees being either under- or overpaid.

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