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Audit criticizes Valley Stream and its library for fiscal practices

The Village of Valley Stream was established in

The Village of Valley Stream was established in 1843 and incorporated in 1925 in southwest Nassau County. It has a population of 37,511, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. (Oct. 11, 2012) Credit: Brittany Wait

The Village of Valley Stream and its public library were criticized for cash receipt practices and selected village operations in an audit released Thursday by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

His office identified "weaknesses" in cash collection in the recreation department, clerk's office, highway department and library.

"Neither the [Village] Board nor the Library Board adopted cash receipt policies to secure cash resources," the audit said.

Mayor Edwin Fare, in the village's written response said "some of these weaknesses were already recognized" and said the village had taken steps toward resolving them.

The audit cited discrepancies at the village swimming pool between the amount of money collected, recorded and deposited. It also reported highway department employees "collect coins from unsecured street parking meters without supervision" and some of that money is not deposited immediately after a count is made.

Additionally, money at the library was stored by multiple cashiers in an unlocked common drawer without a cash count when cashiers changed, the audit said. The report also said neither board audits and approves claims for payment. "Instead, the Village Treasurer and his staff audit all claims against the village and the library," according to the audit.

It also noted that checks are signed electronically, with the mayor's and a village trustee's facsimile signature, although neither are present -- a practice "contrary to Village law."

In his March 26 response, Fare told DiNapoli's office that checks "at the time of this letter are already being signed by the village treasurer, rather than a village trustee, and the mayor is now present during the affixing of his countersignature."

Fare added that the village board and library board intend to appoint a claims auditor or committee "to handle the claims auditing responsibility."

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