Rockville Centre library agrees to change fiscal practices

The Lakeview Public Library at 1120 Woodfield Rd. The Lakeview Public Library at 1120 Woodfield Rd. in Rockville Centre on April 4, 2013. Photo Credit: Tara Conry

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A Rockville Centre library needed to keep better records of tuition reimbursement and send outside contracts out for competitive bids, according to an audit by the state comptroller's office.

The audit of the Lakeview Public Library found that its director received $3,150 in tuition reimbursements that were not recorded by the clerk or board's minutes. "As a result, the payments were not transparent to tax payers," the report stated.

The library also spent $152,829 for professional service providers without seeking competitive bids, the audit found. "As a result, library officials did not have adequate assurance they obtained goods and services at the most reasonable cost," the report stated.

On Wednesday, the comptroller issued its audit, which examined library finances from Jan. 1, 2012, to Oct. 31, 2013.

The library operated last year with a $1.3 million budget, approved by the Town of Hempstead.

Library officials said they agreed with the comptroller's report and are following recommendations from the audit to make changes.

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Library director Ruby Boykins said the library now requires three bids in writing for any outside expenditure. In addition, any reimbursement for tuition has to be approved in board minutes, she said. "We did what was requested by the state and made the corrections with new policies put in place," Boykins said.

The library's director submitted three claims for reimbursements for graduate classes, totaling $4,150 from 2010 to 2012, but only one $1,000 reimbursement was listed in board minutes. The board's approval of the other payments was not recorded by the clerk, Boykins said.

The board's purchasing policy did not require the library to solicit competitive bids for professional services, such as legal consulting and IT services, according to the audit. Boykins said several contracts were sent out for other projects, but not all contractors responded.

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