Balance missing from role of administrator

Sam Drayo Jr., argued in a commentary (Sept. 7) that “Post is vital to village: Fredonia needs to keep an administrator.” Fredonia had an administrator from 1977 until 2018. This title embraced the clerk and treasurer titles in addition. In 2018, the village trustees appointed a separate clerk and a separate treasurer.

I supported this proposed local law.

On Page 27 of the current Local Government Management Guide of the New York state Comptroller’s Division of Local Government and School Accountability it queries: “Is the bank reconciliation performed by a person whose job duties do not include maintaining either the cash receipts or disbursements journals or receiving or disbursing cash?”

This separation of Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable is a crucial aspect of maintaining institutional fiscal credibility. In my former work as deputy clerk of the town of Pomfret, I and the clerk were responsible for Accounts Receivable while a part-time accountant was responsible for Accounts Payable. This accountant served that cross-checking function for several towns, thus providing him with full-time employment.

Drayo writes: “The village needs a full-time, qualified and knowledgeable administrator to assist the mayor and Village Board in coordinating and advising them of all the various functions, projects and services provided by the village and courses of action to take so that good decisions can be made for our village.” In practice, however, the administrators of Fredonia secretively insulated the successive mayors and trustees from information about the village’s capital and financial assets, “functions, projects and services.”

In an hour-long meeting with the village’s independent auditors in the Mayor’s Office on Aug. 21, I had an opportunity to express my concerns regarding this secretiveness which removed the mayors and trustees from decision making. Rather, the mayors and trustees did the bidding of the career administrators. See the current article entitled “deep state in the United States” in Wikipedia.

Michale Barris, Ph.D. is a Fredonia trustee.


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