Colton-Pierrepont superintendent pleased with audit by Comptroller’s Office

Rob Beckstead

Watertown Daily Times

Jan 3, 2018

Colton-Pierrepont Central School Superintendent Joseph A. Kardash said a recent audit by the state Comptroller’s Office was favorable, particularly considering that the district doesn’t have a business manager.

“This is something we’re proud of,” he said. “The Business Office really consists of myself, my secretary and our treasurer. We run on kind of shoestring staffing for our office.”

The audit was conducted in May and June, and district officials received the official report in late December.

Despite the staffing situation, auditors noted among their key findings that salaries and wages were accurately calculated and paid.

“They confirmed our accuracy,” Mr. Kardash said.

Because of the small number of people handling the Business Office functions, auditors recommended changes to improve checks and balances, noting that the district clerk’s payroll duties were inadequately segregated.

“It is not practical to adequately segregate financial duties because of limited staff resources. District management should establish compensating controls, which could consist of supervisory reviews of activity and transactions. Comprehensive supervisory reviews could include a review of bank reconciliations, bank statements, general ledger balances, outstanding check lists, canceled checks, deposits-in-transit and account adjustments,” auditors suggested.

In his response to the auditor’s comments, Mr. Kardash said they already had implemented the recommendations.

“Although the Superintendent has been performing a functional review of the bank reconciliations, there was no formal review documented. The Superintendent will now sign off on the bank reconciliations after the monthly review is complete,” he wrote.

He said they’ve also changed the review process for printed checks.

“The review process for printed checks has included the District Clerk and the Superintendent. It now also includes the Treasurer, reviewing printed checks and comparing them to the certified payroll registers and warrants before disbursement to ensure that the checks are properly authorized,” Mr. Kardash wrote.

He said they had also addressed another recommendation — that the claims auditor provide the treasurer with a certified warrant authorizing the treasurer to pay an approved claim.

Auditors said the claims auditor provided monthly reports to the Board of Education, listing claims and the amounts approved for payments, along with any reportable errors.

“However, she does not submit a signed warrant to the Treasurer, authorizing the Treasurer to sign the checks and pay the related claims. As a result, district officials lack assurance that the only claims authorized by the claims auditor are paid,” auditors noted.

“The claims auditor has historically provided an email confirmation with totals and any corrections/concerns to the Treasurer, District Clerk, and Superintendent. As of the 2017-18 school year, a copy of the certified warrant is also transmitted as part of the audit process,” Mr. Kardash wrote in his response to the auditors.