Audit dings Mohawk official for records

MOHAWK – The town supervisor did not maintain accurate and complete accounting records, according to a recent audit by the Office of the State Comptroller.

According to the audit?-which was a review of the town’s accounting records and reports for July 1, 2011, through Dec. 31, 2012 – Supervisor Greg Rajkowski didn’t properly document a variety of financial information or prepare accurate reports.

As a result, the audit said, town officials lacked assurance that enough fund balance was available to pay for budget appropriations.

“The lack of accurate accounting records precludes the board from monitoring and managing financial operations, assessing financial condition, and adopting reasonable and equitable budgets,” the audit said.

Councilman James Hoffman said Friday he hasn’t read the entire audit, but he believes the concerns are relatively minor.

“We haven’t had any big problems and I think what the auditor implied is that they don’t see anything wrong, they just couldn’t quite figure out exactly what we were doing,” Hoffman said. “Our practices could be a little bit clearer.”

The audit states the supervisor prepared and remitted monthly reports to the Town Board and sent an annual update document to the Office of the State Comptroller. However, the reports and document were not accurate because they were prepared using the inaccurate and incomplete accounting records.

“The supervisor didn’t close the accounting records at year-end or carry accurate balance sheet account balances from one fiscal year to the next,” the audit said. “As a result, the town’s accounting records incorrectly began each year with zero balances for each fund’s balance sheet accounts.”

Among the problems cited in the audit, two of the five town-wide general fund revenues and three of five town-outside-village fund revenues were understated by $153,853 and $104,502, respectively. The audit said this happened because the bookkeeper made adjusting journal entries that reduced revenues and corresponding expenditures by the same amounts.

At the beginning of his 2010 term, the audit said, the supervisor appointed a bookkeeper, Andrea Piscione, to maintain the town’s accounting records.

According to the audit, Piscione said she was aware the reported amounts by the supervisor were inaccurate. However, the audit said, she was unable to provide a reason for these discrepancies.

The audit provided a number of recommendations, including:

The supervisor should ensure accounting records accurately reflect all financial activity, including accurate beginning balance sheet account balances.

The board and supervisor should develop and implement procedures to identify and record the appropriate amount of fund balance in each fund.

The supervisor should ensure all accounting transactions, including adjusting journal entries, are accurately recorded in the accounting records within the correct funds to properly allocate town resources.

The supervisor should provide the board with accurate and complete periodic reports.

The supervisor should file an Annual Update Document which accurately reflects the town’s financial activity.

The town’s response to the audit stated the findings are acceptable “with the caveat” that as early as 2010 the town reached out to the comptroller’s office for assistance with a variety of issues.

One of those issues, according information with the audit, arose in May 2010 when the town asked for assistance with the 2009 Annual Financial Report when the bank accounts reconciled but did not “tie out” with the Annual Update Document.

“We were cognizant of the AUD’s not balancing and other accounting issues from the first year in office,” Rajkowski wrote in the response. “Some of these issues were corrected and we continue to improve.”

In response, the comptroller’s office commented it was aware of the town’s requests for assistance from the office but the audit focused on a specific period.

“It is the town supervisor’s sole responsibility, as chief fiscal officer, to maintain accurate and complete accounting records,” the response said.

According to the audit, the town now has the responsibility to initiate corrective action. A corrective action plan should be prepared and forwarded to the comptroller’s office within 90 days, the audit said.