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State tells East Hampton Housing Authority to tighten finances after audit

The office of New York State Comptroller Thomas

The office of New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli recommended the board overseeing the East Hampton Housing Authority make sure separate employees handle cash receipts, cash disbursements and banking records. Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

The Office of the New York State Comptroller has called on the East Hampton Housing Authority Board of Commissioners to tighten financial controls after an audit found the authority did not record all financial transactions properly.

Thomas P. DiNapoli said in a recently released audit report that between Jan. 1, 2015, and Sept. 30, 2016, the board overseeing the authority did not make sure that the housing agency’s books matched monthly bank statements.

Although the agency did not record every nonpayroll check used, the more than $6.324 million issued “appeared to be for appropriate authority purposes,” said the report, which was released March 24.

Arthur Goldman, the chair of the town-appointed board, said in a letter dated March 10 to the state comptroller’s office that the five-member board planned to meet to discuss a corrective action plan within 45 days.

“Our administration and board recognizes that there is always room for betterment in our implementation and delivery of services, and we do always seek to employ best practices, continually develop staff skills, and work at the highest level of professionalism in our field with all the resources at our disposal,” Goldman wrote.

The housing authority manages three properties — including one in Montauk — with a total of 93 housing units and is developing a fourth property with 40 housing units in Amagansett.

DiNapoli’s office recommended the board review the authority’s finances monthly and make sure separate employees handle cash receipts, cash disbursements and banking records after finding more than 30 recording errors in cash disbursement journals.

The comptroller also requested the administration stop its practice of keeping signed blank checks on file, “which increases the risk of unauthorized payments.” The authority did not record using 22 of these checks, which totaled $228,641. The administration also “never recorded” 19 out of 34 voided checks.

“By not ensuring that all transactions are completely and accurately recorded in the accounting records, the Board lacks the information necessary to monitor the Authority’s cash position and make informed financial decisions,” the report said.

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