Comptroller’s audit chides Berne officials for lack of spending oversight
Kenneth C. Crowe II reports in the Times Union that the State Comptroller’s Office chided Berne officials in an audit released Sept. 17 that said there has been little oversight to any spending in the southern Albany County town. The Town Board doesn't oversee the town’s financial operations and didn’t follow state law, allowing the supervisor to pay the town’s bills without the board conducting an audit. The Berne Town Board didn’t “audit the 170 claims totaling $166,792 reviewed or audit any credit card charges totaling $8,308 before payment was made, or annually audit the records of all officials who received and disbursed funds, as required,” the comptroller's audit said. In January 2020 and again in January 2021 the town board voted to allow the supervisor or deputy supervisor to pay the bills without a board review. “However, the Board does not have authority pursuant to Town Law to authorize payment of all claims in advance of audit. Therefore, the Board exceeded its authority by passing these resolutions,” the state audit said. Berne Supervisor Sean Lyons tried to explain how this happened. “I cannot argue the board did not provide adequate oversight of financial operations based on the summary of your audit and the letter of the law, but I would assert that the financial operations of the Town received better than adequate oversight of the claims and financial records during by 3-plus years as Supervisor with seven different Board members for many reasons,” Lyons wrote the state on Aug. 23, 2021 in response to the audit. Read more about this story in the Times Union.