Wayland town receives low marks from state auditors

Christine Loman

An audit from the state Comptroller's Office released this week cited the Town of Wayland, saying the town board "did not fulfill its fiscal oversight responsibilities."

The audit looked at the town's fiscal operations from Jan. 1, 2009 to July 28, 2011.

Among the audit's key findings were:

• The town did not properly budget for town-wide or town-outside-village funds, causing the town's general fund to be depleted while the "combined fund balance of the general fund town-outside-village and highway town-outside-village funds became excessive."

• The town supervisor incorrectly budgeted $450,000 in sales tax revenue the town received in 2009 and 2010 in general and highway town funds, the audit said.

• The town supervisor did not adequately monitor the accounting firm's activities, including preparing and printing town checks, filing the town's payroll reports and making electronic fund transfers to government agencies from a town bank account.

• The board did not monitor compliance with its procurement policy, the audit also said.

• The town board also failed to audit the financial records of the town supervisor or town clerk in 2009 or 2010, as required by law, the audit found.

Town supervisor George Ott objected in writing to the audit, say

ing, "Your focus on risk rather than accuracy disturbs me. I would ask that the page 6 summary be changed to reflect the accuracy of our books and the risk factors as secondary. I would also like it written as more factual and less indicative of incompetence by myself and my Board."

Ott also said in the letter that he had increased his oversight of the town's accounting firm, "there is no aspect of my towns finances that I do not have my hand in," he said.

The Comptroller's Office response to Ott’s letter said in part, "Our audit identifies a variety of internal control weaknesses that need to be improved. Although we found the accounting records to be currently accurate and complete, the Town needs to improve its controls, as it indicates it will, to help ensure this will continue."

Tuesday, Ott said the auditors did their job, the town had corrected issues that were raised and that it is ready to move on.