BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Erie Community College officials responded to a state audit critical of some operations.
Among the findings, the audit from the office of State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli cited lax oversight by the college’s board of trustees.
“The Board has established a lax environment and has allowed management to assume Board responsibilities and make key financial decisions with little or no Board oversight,” the audit stated.
But board chairman Steve Boyd says there was oversight in all of the financial and hiring decisions .
He says the college nearly lost its accreditation in the past because board members were too involved in the day-to-day operations.
“The board shouldn’t run the college. The board sets the policy. The board hires the president. The president runs the college,” Boyd said. “What we have to do is a better job of recording everything we do.”
The audit found that the board “did not always perform” its key financial decisions and deliberations in a “transparent and public manner.”
State auditors also noted “numerous control weaknesses over payroll processing and the maintenance of leave records.”
ECC president Jack Quinn says for the most part mistakes made boil down to documentation.
“There’s no money missing. There’s no allegations that someone took off with the money as some of these audits will find. None of that has occurred,” Quinn explained. “Frankly, I think if we’re going to be in the business of public education where we use public money we should do a better job of documentation.”
Boyd explained that the college is a paper payroll operation, done by hand, which he says led to some of the mistakes.
“We need to move this college into the year 2016 and without a computerized payroll system we can’t do that.”
He says the college desperately needs to computerize its human resources department.
Quinn added: “When you’re keeping track of it like this…is it a surprise you have a couple mistakes? I’m surprised we don’t have more.”
Both Quinn and Boyd see the comptroller’s audit as an opportunity to improve the way things are done.
They say the college has already made changes.
“The comptroller made some good recommendations . And I can tell you right now of the twenty-two recommendations I think there’s eight of them we’ve already adopted,” Quinn added.
The college is in the process of putting together a “corrective action plan” that will be submitted to the state comptroller’s office.