Press-Republican

Local News

May 16, 2014

Comptroller: Altona bookkeeper helped herself to cash

(Continued)

Auditors found that Peryea “frequently altered receipts to show a lower amount collected from the (Feinberg) Park director and code enforcement officer.” 

Park and recreation fees totaling $18,586, $4,146 in code-enforcement fees and $800 in Town Hall rental fees were not deposited, the audit showed. 

The Town Council, the audit said, was not given information on revenues and so did not realize Peryea had not completed paperwork in a timely manner and the town had not received Consolidated Highway Improvement Program funding of $140,534 for 2011 and 2012.

As well, auditors found five checks totaling $337,818 in Peryea’s office, among them a state aid reimbursement for $220,000, the report said. Because it hadn’t been deposited, the funds were turned over to the State Comptroller’s Office of Unclaimed Funds.

In both cases, Ross said, the town was able to reclaim the money.

‘NO OVERSIGHT’

The audit also says, among other findings:

• The town did not have complete, accurate and up-to-date accounting records. 

• Ross did not perform proper monthly bank reconciliations.

• The Town Council did not audit the records of the supervisor, tax collector, town clerk, code enforcement officer and park manager. 

Town officials agreed with the audit findings, the press release said, and have begun to implement many recommendations made by the comptroller. 

Ross, who has served as supervisor for about two decades, took full responsibility for the lack of oversight that allowed the theft, the audit report said.

“Unfortunately, there are no training or skill requirements to become a town supervisor,” he wrote. “Time and experience guide you. ... Most supervisors rely on an efficient and trustworthy secretary to assist them.

“... I have worked very hard with the new secretary and town board to prevent such findings from reoccurring.”

Melinda Guerin now holds that position.

PAID A PRICE

Ross said he knows Peryea was “having a hard time” during the period when the money was taken.

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