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State comptroller finds shortcomings in Remsen school’s auditing, report claims

Posted 7/15/19

A routine state audit found the claims auditor for the Remsen Central School District reviewed many payments only after reimbursements were made and did not approve 20 electronic payments for credit …

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State comptroller finds shortcomings in Remsen school’s auditing, report claims

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A routine state audit found the claims auditor for the Remsen Central School District reviewed many payments only after reimbursements were made and did not approve 20 electronic payments for credit card charges, shortcomings district officials said are being corrected.

Auditors with the state
comptroller’s office said the purchasing agent provides documentation to the claims auditor after the checks have already been mailed to vendors.

The claims auditor follows up with the purchasing agent and business administrator on any discrepancies found and prepares a quarterly report to the school board.

But the purchasing agent and business administrator are not independent of the purchasing process, the state auditors said in their report.

All the 116 claims the state auditors reviewed were generally adequately supported, but none was audited before payment. They were worth $1.9 million or 19 percent of spending during the period, according to the state report.

The state auditors reviewed credit card claims totaling $11,600 and determined they were for proper purposes and properly supported except for minor instances.

Five claims, totaling $1,260 for employee travel were submitted after the district policy limiting the time to 90 days.

Some were submitted up to 12 months after travel.

While many larger school districts have a full-time auditor, Remsen pays a stipend to a teacher who has relevant experience to do the work, and has since adjusted her schedule to review payments more often to meet the state recommendation, Assistant Superintendent for Business Lou D’Ambro said.

No irregularities were found in the use of the district credit cards, but state auditors said the business administrator has the ability to make and approve card purchases and pay charges without oversight.

In the district response, then-Superintendent Rebecca Dunckel-King wrote that the district is expediting the internal claims auditor process to carry out the recommendations. D’Ambrose told the Daily Sentinel the auditor’s schedule has been adjusted to comply.

The period audited was from July 1, 2017 through Dec. 31, 2018.

The Remsen district has 411 students and 97 employees.

It serves the towns of Ohio and Russia in Herkimer County, and Boonville, Forestport, Remsen, Steuben and Trenton in Oneida County.

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