The New York State Comptroller's office recently released the results of an audit that went through several of Patchogue Village's projects and board approvals.
The state audit focused on the Village's capital projects, the sewer district, claims auditing and information technology.
"We reviewed five projects with expenditures totaling $11,397,503, and found that the board did not properly authorize all projects, nor did they effectively monitor them," said the report regarding capital projects. "As a result, the Village had $284,808 in unauthorized expenditures and experienced cost overruns in two of the five projects reviewed totaling $1,900,957."
The report also said the Village issued debt to reimburse the general fund for capital expenditures totaling $549,015, in violation of Local Finance Law.
The audit also discusses the of Village funds by a senior village clerk.
“The failure of the Board to audit claims increases the risk of unauthorized disbursements of Village funds which may be made and go undetected,” says the report. “The failure to audit and approve claims resulted in the former senior account clerk being able to conceal and misappropriate $193,000 over the course of several years.”
Patch talked with Patchogue Village Mayor Paul Pontieri and Village Treasurer Ronald Krawczyk Thursday afternoon about the audit. Pontieri and Krawczyk both said that since the last audit of the Village took place in 1992, there was no way of knowing several of the policies that were mentioned in the report.
“The last time they did an audit of the Village was 1992. Since that time there were five treasurers and four mayors,” Pontieri said. He also said that all of those officials came to the position from private positions and not from the public sector or the judicial sector to understand the policies.
Krawczyk said that due to the rapid growth of the Village since the last audit, there is a need for them to enhance several of the policies and procedures. One of the ways is that they intend to start a policy for capital projects, which Krawczyk said historically the Village has had very few.
“We need to put a capital projects policy in place,” Krawczyk said.
Regarding the statements on how they could have found out about the senior clerk’s alleged theft sooner, Krawczyk said that transitioning from paper checks to technology created issues.
Pontieri and Krawczyk pointed out that the audit was not the definitive definition of the Village’s financial strength, which includes an improving bond rating and a large surplus.
Pontieri also told Patch that the audit does not mention issues brought up from opposing sides during last spring’s Mayoral election including and .
"I got beat up for 8 months on gas," Pontieri said. "They did an audit and never said a word on how gas was disbursed. All that was happening while the auditors were here."
To read the full audit from the state comptroller, including responses from Patchogue Village, click here or view it in the PDF section.