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New Scotland Archives The Altamont Enterprise, April 23, 2009
New Scotland audits itself
By Saranac Hale Spencer
NEW SCOTLAND Since the town hired an Internal Control Officer in January, it has been steadily working towards restructuring parts of its operation.
“It’s been very beneficial,” Supervisor Thomas Dolin said of the work being done by Darryl Purinton, a certified public accountant who spends one day each week in New Scotland. He is being paid $35,000 for a year of work, Dolin said.
The state comptroller used to audit towns every three years, Dolin said, but those resources have been diverted to school audits and New Scotland hasn’t had one in several years. Purinton suggested an internal audit first, to get things in order, Dolin said. Since he was hired for the task in January, Purinton has been working with the town’s two newly created committees the Governance Committee, consisting of councilwomen Deborah Baron and Margaret Neri, and the Audit Committee, made-up of councilmen Douglas LaGrange and Richard Reilly.
So far, Purinton and the Governance Committee have drafted some potential changes to the employee manual that include having all workers, excluding elected officials, use a time clock. As it stands now, only some employees are required to clock in and out of work. Standards by which longevity bonuses are determined may also change, from the current bar of three years; the proposed changes could make the first longevity payment $1,000 after 10 years. For highway and parks employees, the possible changes include an annual $100 credit for work boots. Also on the docket are flex-time hours. Only certain town workers will be eligible for flex time, like those whose presence is required at meetings outside of regular work hours. Other employees may get permission from the supervisor to get flex-time hours.
The process is ongoing, Baron said yesterday, and the board may not vote on the changes until the end of summer, if it chooses to have a specialized lawyer weigh in.
“The five of us need to come to consensus,” she said of the town board, which will ultimately decide on how to change the manual. The goal is to spend taxpayers’ money wisely, she said.
Engineering costs have proven to be the biggest issue so far, Dolin said of the internal audit, since there are several water and sewer districts within the town and there are “allocation issues” between various accounts.
“It’s a multifaceted operation,” he said.
In recent meetings, the town board has:
Voted unanimously to pass a moratorium on the construction of wind turbines while the town drafts regulations;
Voted unanimously to authorize the supervisor to sign a renewal of service agreement with National Business Equipment for $1,140 for service to its copy machine;
Voted unanimously to establish the proposed New Salem Water District as a capital project;
Voted unanimously to appoint Christopher McCarthy to the board of assessment review since Deborah Corbari left her seat to take the assessor’s post;
Voted unanimously to authorize the Onesquethaw Volunteer Fire Company to hold a chicken-barbecue fund-raiser on April 29 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Clarksville firehouse;
Voted unanimously to pay Stantec, the town’s engineering firm, up to $6,900 for project planning and development related to the New Salem Area Water District; and
Set a public hearing for Local Law B, which governs the commercial zone, on June 17 at 6:30 p.m. in Voorheesville’s high school auditorium. (See related story at www.altamontenterprise.com under New Scotland archives for April 16.)