I read an article in the Post Star, they spoke to the candidates running for Supervisor. This article was done on Cynthia Hyde. In it she boasts about all they have done, never once mentioning that they only finished the jobs the previous board had already set in place. There was one quote from Cynthia Hyde that I did agree with. She stated that Fred Engelmann, the contractor that built the Whitespace system quit, yes finally the truth is being stated!! Mr. Engelmann quit, he walked away because he wanted more money than his contract called for. Mr. Engelmann was never fired, as they have all been stating right along. Yet, they still had no problem paying him this money and giving him the job of operator for this system. I have not heard one word of a signed contract with Mr. Englemann, so I guess he can bill as he sees fit. That is financial sound thinking... NOT!
This article also stated that the town hired an outside CPA to help fix the books as well as hiring a bookkeeper, whom they claim has a bachelor degree in accounting. I do not hold any bachelor degrees, I do however have some experience in governmental accounting. The one thing that is important to remember is having a bachelor degree in accounting is different from having a degree in governmental accounting. The two could not be more different if they tried. One thing I learned quickly is, take everything you know about standard accounting and forget it and you then have governmental accounting. Nothing is as it is for any standard personal or small business accounting. To prove my point let me do a very quick example. This is an important error that our bookkeeper, supervisor, and the outside CPA have been doing, so bear with me as I explain. I know most people look like a deer in headlights when accounting terms are spoken about, but hold on, it won't hurt too much.
I have been watching the monthly abstracts, these are posted on the Thurman Informer webpage as well as eventually, on the town web page and they show us what bills have been paid each month and from what accounting code. One thing I have noticed is they are paying the fines and fees that come from our town justice each month from the judge's contractual budget line. Why is this a big deal you ask?? Well, a contractual budget line is for expenditures that the judge and her clerk needs. This is everything from folders & ink right up to law books. It is never used to pay for payments to the state and town. Let me break it down for you. Each month the judge's clerk runs a report which includes all fines and fees paid by people that have appeared before the judge. The judge then writes a check payable to the town for these fines and fees and it is turned into the supervisors' office each month. The check must be recorded into the accounting software and deposited into the bank account, however, it doesn't all go to the town. Some of this money must be paid to the State of NY. The state sends a notice of disbursement to the town, this tells the town how much they must send to the state and how much the town gets to keep. There is a special accounting code method that needs to be used to record this money. I won't get into the different accounting codes but there is a sequence of accounting methods that needs to be done to properly show it in the system. You can't just put it in the bank under one code and pay it out of an entirely different code, that is budgeted for the judges' expenses. This is exactly what they have been doing since they took office however. The outside CPA and the bookkeeper, who they claim has a bachelor's degree in accounting are doing it wrong, proving my point that basic accounting is very different from governmental accounting.
I am sure they will claim this is all a lie and that this is just propaganda to make you think they are doing things wrong. Well it isn't. I contacted the NYS Comptroller's Office and asked them for the proper procedure for this accounting. They sent me a link to a publication that spells out how this should be done. This is a publication that anyone can get. It is there to help people understand. Perhaps the time of our supervisor, bookkeeper and board would be better spent reading some of these free publications instead of trying to find things that they feel were done wrong in the past. They are there to do a job for the taxpayer. They don't listen to the taxpayers and they don't care what we have to say. They are the only ones that are right as far as they are concerned.
Why am I so concerned over this error and the misuse of the judges' contractual budget line? Well, as of right now the judge is grossly over budget, not by her own spending, but by their accounting errors. If they were watching the budget lines closely through the operating statements, they would see how messed up they are. They just switched over to the old accounting software, yet they still did not notice this budget line so grossly over budget.
I personally am not comfortable with anyone of these people handling my tax dollars. I am not saying they must be perfect, but come on. The bookkeeper and supervisor have gone to the governmental financial training courses, did they nap through them?? There are so many free publications available through the NYS Comptroller's office, that anyone can read and learn the basics. I don't think taking the time to do the job correctly is asking too much.
My vote will not be going to anyone that is currently in office, we need to get them all out before our town becomes a ghost town.
I have asked that a clip from the publication that the Comptroller’s office sent me be attached here as well as a link to the actual complete publication. I have also done a spreadsheet on the judge's contractual code A1110.4, to show you that the judge did not over spend on her budget, the town did. Is the judge even aware of this??