GREENBURGH, N.Y. – Two years after finding tens of thousands of unprocessed tickets hidden away and taking criticism from the state for a lack of oversight of its courts, Greenburgh appears to be headed on the right track, according to an independent auditor.
Alan Kassay, a partner with the Harrison-based accounting firm O’Connor, Davies, Munn & Dobbins, said Tuesday the court is operating with better financial controls than it has in the past and has begun addressing chronic concerns of sloppy record keeping.
“I think you have a much improved court,” Kassay told town council members while presenting them with his firm’s 2011 audit of the court system. “Everything that should be done is currently being done.”
In 2010 court workers stumbled across an estimated 80,000 unprocessed tickets for speeding, seat belt and other violations, some stemming as far back as 1993. At one time, town officials estimated the tickets could bring in as much as $4 million in revenue to the town.
While Court Administrator Annu Jacobs said Wednesday her staff continues to work to correct the backlog, neither she nor Supervisor Paul Feiner were able to provide an up-to-date record of how many tickets the court has reviewed or how much money has been collected.
“By the end of this year should have a better idea of where we are,” Jacobs said.
The hidden tickets were the latest in a series of state audits and records that documented sub-par record keeping at the court. Earlier that same year the state’s comptroller’s office released an audit criticizing town justices for not keeping accurate, up-to-date bank records of bail money and not regularly maintaining bail ledgers. The report also blasted the town board for violating its own laws by not performing annual audits.
Two years later, town officials have a much better handle on the court’s finances, Kassay said. Monthly financial reports are now being sent to the town attorney and comptroller for review. The court is also in the process of closing down an illegally set-up bank account for bail money, Jacobs said.
But fixing the problems isn’t an overnight process, she said.
“It takes time,” said Jacobs, who took over administrator position in January after Regina Hill resigned, citing the stresses of the position. “But we’re taking care of what we need to do.”
Supervisor Paul Feiner and members of the town board asked Jacobs Tuesday for monthly internal accounting reports and bank records, hoping to ensure the court is managed properly on a day-to-day basis.
“The worst thing is a year from now state comes in and says were not doing our job and there’s a problem in the court,” Feiner said. “We want to make sure we are running as tight an operation as possible and running the maximum oversight that the state says we should.”