Elmont Library disputes state comptroller's audit finding

The Elmont Public Library challenged one of the

The Elmont Public Library challenged one of the issues raised in an audit by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli that criticized the board's handling of some payments and contracts. DiNapoli is shown during the New York Association of Towns Annual Meeting at the Hilton on Feb. 17, 2014. (Credit: Charles Eckert)

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The Elmont Public Library challenged one of the issues raised in an audit by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli that criticized the board's handling of some payments and contracts.

DiNapoli's office noted in the audit released last week that the library failed to periodically seek requests for proposals for professional services.

Library board vice president Pat Nicolosi said Wednesday that seeking new requests with a satisfactory contractor already in place would create problems.

Doing so is "not even state law, and we as a board feel satisfied with what we do," Nicolosi said. "We don't want to start problems, sending mixed signals to the contractor and the community. If it ain't broken, don't fix it."

The board asked DiNapoli to remove that section from the audit. The comptroller's office did not take it out.

DiNapoli's office conceded that periodic requests for proposals are not state law, but said in the audit that "procuring professional services through a competitive process at reasonable intervals is not only a good business practice, it also will help the Board ensure that the Library and taxpayers are receiving the best value for those services."

The audit covered the period from July 1, 2011, to April 30, 2013.

It also criticized the library board for not auditing and approving claims before they are paid from the administrative checking account, not giving the treasurer custody of or access to the account, and not closely monitoring the account activity that included checks totaling $153,290.

The audit also said that the board inappropriately delegated the treasurer's functions to an appointed independent contractor, who did not take an oath of office and was paid through a claim voucher, not through the payroll system.

The board noted in its written response that all of the information about the treasurer is "not reflected in the law or in the Handbook of Library Trustees," and said that the $153,290 represents about 2.6 percent of the library's total expenditures for the audit period.

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