Hastings-on-Hudson lacked fiscal oversight, state audit says
Oct 29, 2018
HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON - Village officials paid out $535,000 to five contractors without written agreements, awarded nearly $560,000 no-bid contracts and even gave 14 village workers too much vacation time, a state audit found.
The audit by the Office of the New York State Comptroller said the village even operated without a treasurer, giving that task to other officials with separate duties.
"For example, the (village) manager is the purchasing agent, although the policy states that the treasurer is the purchasing agent," the audit said.
The audit went on to point out that the village's Information Technology director was serving as the deputy treasurer, while other duties, such as reviewing bank reconciliations and payroll leave accrual balances for accuracy, were not performed.
Hastings-on-Hudson Village Manager Francis Frobel said Monday that the village had begun work on a plan to address the state audit, and had taken steps to rectify some of the inefficiencies highlighted.
For instance, he said that Village Clerk Joseph Cerretani had been appointed to the dual role of treasurer before the audit was released.
“The audit, we found it helpful," Frobel said. "In any organization there’s ways that you can improve the way you do business, and they made some really good observations."
"We’re preparing now a corrective action plan," he said. “We’re working on that now, and really that’s the long and short of it.”
The audit was released late Friday. It pointed out that the village did not issue requests for proposals for six professional service contracts totaling $559,311, including for engineering, landscape architecture and legal services.
State law requires most municipal contracts to be put out to competitive bids through the issuance of an RFP.
"When village officials do not seek competition to procure professional services, they cannot assure taxpayers that they procured the most economically beneficial and qualified service providers without favoritism," the audit said.
Auditors also reviewed payments to 10 professional service providers. They found that five providers who were paid $535,255, including one who had an expired contract, did not have written agreements for the payments.
In addition, auditors reviewed accrued leave and vacation time for village employees and found that 14 of them had exceeded the maximum amount of vacation time they were allowed to carry over from year to year by 4,510 hours, at a cost of $213,058.
Under village policy, employees are entitled to vacation but must use the time within the year, unless they have written authorization to carry the time over to the next year. Leave time and compensatory time cannot be carried over year to year.