Huntington Bay mayor responds to state audit
Huntington Bay's mayor says some recommendations to make the village more fiscally accountable -- as proposed in a recently released state comptroller audit -- have already been adopted, and others should be in place by spring.
The audit came on the heels of Herb Morrow, the volunteer mayor, being publicly accused of improperly using a village-issued credit card in 2011, as he was running for a seat on the Huntington Town Board.
The audit, released earlier this month, was conducted to examine the village's method of compensating its officials and credit card use for the period between June 1, 2010, and April 30, 2012.
"We're looking forward to moving forward and tightening things up," said Morrow, in office since 1994.
The audit faulted the village for paying its building inspector and court justice with vouchers, saying they must be paid on the village's payroll because they are official positions. Morrow said that, as of Jan. 1, the village made both direct employees of the village.
The audit also recommends an update of the credit card policy to describe the types of purchases allowed, when it is appropriate to use the credit card, and what documentation is required. It also suggests establishing a meal and refreshments policy for officials and employees.
The audit found that of $11,465 in credit card charges that Morrow and the village administrator -- the only two issued village credit cards -- made during the audit period, $2,781 worth of charges were paid for without itemized receipts. That included $2,069 for restaurants and other personal charges such as a suit and liquor store purchases.
While Morrow, who has no Village Hall office space, acknowledged some "sloppy record-keeping," he said there was nothing inappropriate about any of the charges examined during the audit. "My board has been very supportive of the fact that sometimes I need to conduct business outside of Village Hall."
Nevertheless, he said, the board plans to rewrite its credit card policy this spring. He said the village has already instituted a policy that says the village, without a receipt, will not pay for the expense, and requires duplicate copies of receipts to be kept at a place other than Village Hall.