Niagara Gazette

Local News

January 24, 2013

Housing authority controls questioned


Niagara Gazette — “At the current hourly compensation rate of approximately $60, the executive director’s accumulated vacation leave balance has a value of over $100,000,” the audit report notes. “If the board had ensured the executive director complied with the policy and approved the carryover of only the maximum allowed of five days annually, with her 29 years of service, the most she could have accumulated would be 145 days, rather than the 239 day reported balance.”

Auditors also found that in 2011 Cowart cashed out more days than allowed by the terms of her contract, receiving payment for 30 days in May 2011 ($12,574) and for 15 days in October 2011 ($6,287). 

When asked about the payments, auditors said Cowart provided them with a copy of a board resolution from October 2011 that authorized authority staff to sell up to 15 days of vacation leave. Authority officials subsequently provided a board resolution dated May 2011 that approved the sale of six weeks, or 30 days, of leave specifically for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, the audit notes.

“Due to the manner in which vacation leave days have been accrued and these transactions were handled — one resolution not specifically listing the executive director and the other resolution being provided at the exit discussion — we question the legitimacy of payments for unused leave that exceed the relevant provisions in her employment contract,” the audit report reads. 

The comptroller’s office recommended the board more “clearly define” Cowart’s employment contract and all compensation and benefits to be received, as well as take steps to ensure she is adhering to authority policies and control procedures in the future. Auditors also encouraged authority officials to ensure that all payments to Cowart are periodically reviewed and audited moving forward. 

Cowart indicated that the authority would follow through on those directives. 

“We intend to use the state comptroller’s examination as it was intended, as a recommendation and a resource,” Cowart said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
House Ads
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page

Do you think cigarette sales to non-Native American customers should be taxed on reservations?

Yes. Items should be taxed like they are everywhere else.
No, the indian reservations are sovereign land and they are selling them on their land.
Not up to me. Native Americans decide the rules on their land.
Don't care. Smoking isn't good for you.
     View Results