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Jacobs calls for Outside Audit of Land Records Division

Friday, October 12, 2012

County Clerk says Accounting System very flawed

Erie County, NY- Erie County’s new Clerk Chris Jacobs is raising another “red flag” as he works through the problems plaguing the Land Records Division of the County Clerk’s Office.  In addition to the thousands of unprocessed checks and documents Jacobs inherited when he took his position in January, he is now focused on the weak accounting practices in the office.

“The Land Records Division processes over $60 million dollars per year, yet we account for these funds through a “home-made” excel spreadsheet,” says Jacobs. In an effort to correct this deficiency Jacobs is retaining an outside accounting firm to recommend an appropriate “double-entry” accounting package that ties in with the offices software system.

“We are also asking the firm to substantiate that we have accounted for all transactions appropriately over the last several years,” stated Jacobs. “I am not entirely comfortable saying that with the inadequate system that has been in place over the last few years.”

Upon taking office, Jacobs asked the Erie County Comptroller to review the Land Record Division. In regards to the accounting procedures, the Comptroller’s Office stated, “The current system does not allow for an audit trail and provides little, if any, assurance of reliability as the spreadsheets can easily be manipulated.”

The Erie County Legislature this week approved County Clerk Jacobs’ recommendation to retain the accounting firm of Tranconi, Segarra & Associates to undertake this project. The cost to fund the study is not to exceed $25,000 and will utilize existing budget money identified by the Clerk. “$25,000 to make sure $60 million is accurately accounted for is money well spent,” stated Jacobs.