Sagaponack Village Criticized by State Comptroller in Audit

Sag Harbor Express file photo

By Christine Sampson

The Sagaponack Village Board was deficient in its financial oversight of some aspects of village operations, according to a state audit of records covering the period June 1, 2015, through February 28, 2017.

A routine audit conducted by the office of New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli found the village board did not perform its own audits of the payments its clerk-treasurer routinely made, including a lack of review of supporting documentation. The comptroller’s audit also found the village board did not “establish an adequate process to ensure that transactions were properly authorized and approved, complied with statutory or village requirements or that claims were for proper village purposes.”

“As a result, the board does not have adequate assurance that goods and services are purchased at the best price,” the comptroller’s report reads.

During the audit’s time span, the village made 558 payments totaling $722,827. Of those, auditors reviewed 25 payments totaling $82,166.88. The audit found that four of them that fell below bidding thresholds were made without seeking competitive price quotes. The rest were “for proper village purposes” and complied with the village’s procurement policy except for “minor deficiencies.”

“As a result, there is an increased risk that goods and services are not procured in the most prudent and economical manner,” the report reads.

The comptroller recommended the board thoroughly audit its payments to make sure that each one has proper supporting documentation and that each one complies with village policy. The comptroller also suggested the board enforce its competitive pricing procurement policy.

In a September 5 response letter to the comptroller, Sagaponack Village Mayor Donald Louchheim acknowledged the audit’s findings were correct, and outlined a corrective action plan.

That plan includes incorporating an audit of all payments prior to their approval during monthly village board meetings. That plan also includes reviewing the village’s procurement policy and amending it, if necessary, to make sure that competitive prices are sought and received.

“As a best practice going forward, the village will document in writing the research that is conducted to assure that the goods and services are obtained at competitive prices for those goods and services that do not require written quotes under the village’s procurement policy,” Mr. Louchheim wrote.