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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District – Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Operations (2014M-171)


Released: April 17, 2015 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to evaluate the internal controls over selected financial operations for the period January 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013.

Background

The Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District provides services and funds projects related to the conservation of soil and water resources, the improvement of water quality control, the prevention of soil erosion and the prevention of floodwater and sediment damage. It is governed by a seven-member Board of Directors. District expenditures totaled about $992,000 for the 2013 fiscal year.

Key Findings

  • The Assistant failed to provide the Board with budget-to-actual reports.
  • The Assistant provided two versions of the 2011 budget and a Board member provided a third version. All three versions were different and no one was able to confirm which budget, if any, was the official Board-adopted budget.
  • The District entered into an agreement to provide forestry services on lands outside the District to a business or businesses with which the former Director appears to have been affiliated, resulting in a potential conflict of interest.
  • The Assistant was not provided with support for amounts billed or detailed descriptions of the services provided.

Key Recommendations

  • Provide the Board with complete and accurate financial reports, including budget-to-actual results of revenues and expenditures for operating and grant activities.
  • Maintain an official copy of the adopted budget.
  • Ensure all District officers and employees are familiar with the conflict of interest provisions of GML.
  • Ensure that all services the District provides are billed at agreed-upon rates and are supported by detailed descriptions of the work performed.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email: localgov@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236