Nassau Comptroller George Maragos.  (March 28, 2011)

Nassau Comptroller George Maragos. (March 28, 2011) Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Nassau County Police Department has inadequate control of its petty-cash accounts and hasn't reconciled its expenses for more than a year, according to a new audit by county Comptroller George Maragos.

The audit covering 2009 and 2010, released Monday , said one senior officer's excess cash advance of $166 was 358 days overdue and had to be recouped from his reimbursement for a subsequent trip.

Also, the audit found: Three petty-cash vouchers totaling $274 had been split to stay below the $100 threshold limit, where special permission is required; 24 vouchers totaling $1,756 were not supported by original receipts, and another six vouchers totaling $448 were supported only by packing slips with no dollar amounts listed.

"While the overall sum of money the police department has failed to return is minor, the lack of discipline to follow the county's petty-cash policy" raises concerns, Maragos said.

County Executive Edward Mangano said he has directed acting Police Commissioner Thomas Dale to "review Comptroller Maragos' audit and to implement his recommendations."

"Excess cash is supposed to be returned within 10 working days after the completion of travel," said Maragos, noting that failure to do so violates state law and county travel policy.

Maragos said that when employees don't return excess cash advances upon submitting their expenses, the county must deduct the amount from their salaries or add it to their W-2 forms.

The audit found that monthly bank reconciliations for petty cash weren't sent to the county treasurer for the period July 2009 to December 2010, though officials told the comptroller that the missing reconciliations would be sent.

The petty-cash accounts are used for activities including travel and training, miscellaneous expenses of less than $100 and narcotics investigations. The department is allowed to have as much as $200,000 in petty cash at any time, according to the comptroller.

Maragos did not estimate the total amount that was improperly accounted for.

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