GREIG A state audit that uncovered a $16,000 shortfall in a town account stemmed partly from a general request several years ago.
Id asked for an audit when I first took office, said Town Supervisor Marilyn E. Patterson, who has held the post since 2008. I wanted to know if were running the town the way we should be.
While officials at the state comptrollers office initially said they were too busy, they agreed last year to conduct a risk assessment, she said. Then, a check returned for insufficient funds prompted the more extensive audit, Mrs. Patterson said.
Auditors determined that, in July 2011, longtime town clerk and tax collector Karin Fayle diverted a $17,365 state grant check intended for the regional Black River Watershed Initiative to cover a $16,007 shortage in the towns tax collection account.
When questioned about the discrepancy by auditors in September, Mrs. Fayle acknowledged the shortage and later reimbursed the town with personal funds for the full amount, the audit report states. The clerk told state officials that the apparent shortfall was probably the result of a combination of factors such as cash errors, incorrect change, misplaced money and payments posted in the computer system without actually being paid, it states.
Mrs. Fayle also told auditors that her daughter, the deputy town clerk, and her granddaughter, who is not a town official, helped collect taxes in 2011. Having a non-appointee do so was improper, the report stated.
Mrs. Fayle has been unavailable for comment.
While declining to speculate on potential wrongdoing in the case, Mrs. Patterson acknowledged that the clerk, who last fall ran unopposed for a new two-year term, spent a lot of time last year taking her husband for dialysis treatments.
The comptrollers office indicated it was referring the case to state police for a possible investigation, but the supervisor said she has yet to hear from any law-enforcement officials about it.
Moving forward, the Town Council and Mrs. Fayle have been working to implement recommendations made by auditors, such as ensuring that all receipts are recorded and deposited properly, maintaining a cash receipts journal and making sure the town supervisor maintains custody of and accounts for town funds, Mrs. Patterson said.
Weve taken care of all that, she said.
Other changes, such as the use of duplicate receipt books, also have been made to improve record-keeping and transparency, Mrs. Patterson said.