Report dings Gloversville library over claims audit process

GLOVERSVILLE – An audit found the Gloversville Public Library’s internal controls over its claims audit process was not appropriately designed to protect and account for library’s assets, the state Comptroller’s Office said.

The audit – which examined the library’s internal controls over claims processing for July 1, 2012 through December 31, 2013 -involved the review of 40 disbursements, selected randomly, totalling $19,339, which were for the payment of 80 claims.

According to the report accompanying the audit, although the payments appeared to be for appropriate library purposes, all 80 claims lacked documentation the goods or services being billed for were received.

According to the report, the library Board of Trustees assigned authority for the approval of claims to the library director, who is responsible for day-to-day administration. That was the only policy or procedure in place to ensure claims were adequately documented, audited and approved, the report said.

Director Barbara Madonna said the library was following the same procedures from when it was a free library. The library became public in 2005.

Madonna said she would tell the treasurer it was OK to purchase an item, then report the item was received and needed to be paid for.

Madonna said as a result of the recommendations from the Comptroller’s Office, she will give the treasurer permission to purchase an item, but the trustees will review the item and provide permission to pay for it.

The board also did not properly audit or approve claims, library officials did not number claims sequentially or require employees to document the receipt of goods or services being billed, the report said.

The Office of the State Comptroller recommended the trustees establish a claims processing policy and establish procedures to ensure claims are properly documented before they are audited and approved.

In response to the recommendations, the library developed, approved and began following its corrective action plan in June.

According to Board of Trustees President David Fisher, the library’s Finance and Policy Committee is developing a claims processing policy that will be presented to the full board at its meeting this month. This policy will outline who is responsible for the various steps of the claims auditing process, Fisher said.

During its June meeting, the board approved the establishment of an audit committee that will be required to audit claims prior to their submission for full board approval, Fisher said.

The policy will require the board to pass a resolution approving claims at each regular meeting and have that resolution documented in the meeting minutes.

The policy also will require each board member present at the monthly meeting to sign the summary sheet listing all the approved claims, Fisher said.