State OK?With City’s Financial Practices

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli recently released the completed audits for several municipalities, including Jamestown.

It has been 18 years since the city’s last comprehensive audit, and despite two issues that were found in the process, Jamestown received a generally good review. According to the report, auditors found that although the city’s procurement policy was consistently followed by city officials, the city council did not review the policy annually, as required by law. Also, the Board of Public Utilities did not seek bids for purchases from six vendors, and did not seek competition, such as using requests for proposals, when procuring some professional services.

“My office’s audits of local governments improve their financial management practices,” said DiNapoli. “These audits are tools for local officials to make sure proper policies and procedures are in place to protect taxpayer dollars and provide the best possible service these taxpayer dollars can deliver.”

The 27-page report goes into further details, but the primary objective of the audit was to review the city’s internal controls over procurement and cash receipts. According to the report, the results of the audit have been discussed with city officials, who generally agreed with the recommendations that were made.

“The majority of those things were already corrected before the audit process was even completed,” said Mayor Sam Teresi. “The other things are in the process of being corrected. Honestly, we found the comptroller team was very good to work with, and it was a good opportunity for our financial team to see what we needed to work on.”

According to Teresi, the city looked at this audit from the standpoint of using it as technical assistance that would provide the government with good base information.

“Out of the thousands of things that they looked at, this was a good audit process and a good report to the city,” said Teresi. “The issues that they found were valid things that the comptroller brought to our attention, and with such a small handful of items, I think it was a relatively decent report for the city.”

Now that the report has been released, the city has the responsibility to initiate corrective action on any items that still need to be addressed.

City officials also sent comments to the comptroller’s office following the audit and the recommendations that were given.

“For the focus to be on those type of easy-to-correct things was a good outcome for us,” said Teresi. “I think it worked well for us, and we were happy to see that we were doing things correctly for the most part. They shed some light on things where there’s room for improvement.”

Audit reports that were released for other municipalities include the Brentwood Volunteer Fire Department, town of Darien, village of Kenmore, Sullivan County and the town of Vestal.