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Auditors find costly errors with city of Cortland worker benefits


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A new report from state comptroller follows up on a 2010 audit that found non-contractual (NC) employees in the city of Cortland received benefits inconsistent with Council approvals.

Auditors say “most of the prior control weaknesses remain” since their initial findings, and that “Council still hasn’t established specific leave benefits of NC employees.”

As a result, from January 2018 – December 2019:

  • Seven NC employees earned 2,213 more hours of leave than employees in the collective bargaining agreements, valued at $110,500.
  • Four NC employees were paid for 265 more hours of unused vacation leave than limits established for employees in the collective bargaining agreements, valued at $13,700.

According to the report, department heads were not required to keep track of time worked or submit leave requests for taking time off. Council did not approve all leave drawdown payments.

It also found the Director of Administration and Finance and City Attorney did not track their time worked or charge leave accruals when off. This led to excess hours totaling $5,800 and $4,900, respectively.

Additionally, the City paid $59,500 to provide health insurance for two Council members without proper approval and establishment of eligibility requirements and contribution rates.

Key recommendations from the audit include clearly defining the benefits that all officials and NC employees are entitled to; properly tracking time worked; and adhering to provisions in the City Charter, Code of Ordinances (Code) and CBAs.

City officials generally agreed and indicated they will take corrective action.

See the full report here.

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