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Supervisor Letter dated 09/02/15

posted Sep 2, 2015, 7:32 AM by Shari Brooks

Hello Tuxedo,


At Monday’s Town Board meeting, we received a full report from the town’s new auditor covering Fiscal Year 2014. We believe firmly in creating a new era of transparency and accountability here in Tuxedo, and the entire report and presentation can be reviewed here.


After a long discussion of the findings, Hema Easley at the Times Herald Record wrote an article about it here.


I had many concerns about the Town’s fiscal condition coming into office in 2014 and sought assistance from various individuals and agencies in evaluating the situation. That led to the State Comptroller General conducting an audit for the period of January 2013 to January 2014, but we were only made aware of the findings of this review in January of this year. The independent auditors from New York State confirmed some of my concerns - their report can be read here.


We took swift and immediate action. Since none of the issues raised by the Comptroller were evaluated by our independent accountant and auditor, we terminated our relationship and sought new professional help with the accounting team at Cooper Arias. The new auditors, Andrew Arias in particular, spent four months reviewing our records for 2013 and 2014, and did an outstanding job. This resulted in a restatement of balances going back two accounting years to more accurately reflect reality. Cooper Arias was instrumental in bringing many issues to light, and the Town Board takes their findings very seriously.


Although we only received the full audit report in July, we have already made several changes internally that will address the concerns found by Cooper Arias and Mrs. Easley. We have hired two new financially-savvy individuals - one in the finance department, and one on our Town Board - who have the skills and expertise to implement common-sense policies and procedures to fix the problems that exist. We have segregated duties and responsibilities within our financial management, updated our internal controls, outsourced our payroll processing, and are implementing time clocks in several departments. Since our accounting software is generations out-of-date, we evaluated four accounting systems earlier this year, one of which will be implemented on January 1st, 2016.


While the report was sobering, we welcome the findings as it reflects an accurate picture of the Town’s fiscal condition prior to 2015. I assure you that this year and moving forward will be different. The damage wasn’t done in a year, and although we have come a long way, many of the issues continue to require attention and thoughtful action.

Mike Rost
  Town Supervisor