State Audit Criticizes Herrings' Handling Of Money

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The state is criticizing the way the Jefferson County village of Herrings handled its money.

The Office of the New York State Comptroller released the results of an audit Thursday.

According to the state, the village board failed to provide adequate oversight of the fiscal duties of the clerk-treasurer.

The audit said the former clerk-treasurer did not create or maintain cash journals, general ledgers or subsidiary revenue and expenditure ledgers and did not provide a monthly budget-to-actual report.

In addition, the state said the treasurer had so many responsibilities that the treasurer "could misappropriate village funds and adjust the village records to conceal inappropriate transactions."

The comptroller's office also said the board hadn't audited the treasurer's records since at least 2007.

"An effective audit of the records and reports would have identified the serious deficiencies in the accounting records," the state said.

The audit also criticized the board for failing to ensure the sale of village-owned property to the village mayor was in the best interest of taxpayers.

The board sold the mayor a piece of land for $500 in 2012.

The audit said the village may not have received the best possible price for the property.

"The Village Board was unable to provide us with any evidence that they advertised or solicited offers on the property sold to the Mayor, that an appraisal was done, or that they otherwise took any steps to determine the market value of the property," the state said.

In an April 8 letter from Mayor Richard Beirman, village officials said they agreed with the audit's findings and were taking action to fix the problems.

See the report

Wednesday, September 3, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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