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Audit: School district needs tighter controls on leave time

Bayport-Blue Point High School is seen on Oct.

Bayport-Blue Point High School is seen on Oct. 18, 2011. Photo Credit: Erin Geismar

Nearly 7 percent of staffers in the Bayport-Blue Point school district who requested work leave obtained it without having enough accrued leave time to cover their absences, state auditors reported after a recent spot-check of district records.

An audit report released over the weekend by the state comptroller's office found that district record-keeping was adequate to prevent those particular staffers from being paid for days off.

The report warned, however, that Bayport-Blue Point needs better controls to prevent instances of "employees being paid for unavailable leave and the need to subsequently dock their paychecks to recover overpayments."

The district's superintendent, Vincent Butera, agreed with the auditors' recommendations in a response letter while contending that the findings "did not indicate any substantial or material deficiencies" and that employees did have adequate leave balances available.

The audit, by the comptroller's regional office in Hauppauge, looked at records of vacations, sick days and other leave taken by Bayport-Blue Point employees between July 2013 and March 2015.

The district, which straddles the Islip-Brookhaven border in Suffolk County, enrolls about 2,440 students and employs 650 full-time and part-time workers.

Auditors checked a sample of 60 leave transactions covering 44 employees and found that six transactions involving three employees were recorded as "sick days used." Employee records were accurate, the report stated.

"However, supervisors were approving leave requests on an honor system," the state report added. "This resulted in supervisors initially approving leave requests for employees who did not have sufficient accruals available."

Auditors concluded Bayport-Blue Point supervisors responsible for granting leave to employees did not have access to computer records showing how much leave time those workers accrued. Also, recent turnover in the district's personnel office left it without supervisory review of leave time earned and used.

Butera said the district would ensure that supervisors have access to records showing employees' accrued balances of leave time.

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