To prevent another accounting mishap, Westhampton Beach Village Clerk Rebecca Molinaro is recommending that the village explore enacting a new payroll schedule for all of its employees.
Molinaro said she believes that if the village moves to a 24-week payroll schedule in which employees are paid two times a month, the village would likely never again see a mishap like the one recently in which some 40 employees were overpaid a total of $22,000.
"This is something that the town of Southampton did after they had a similar clerical issue," said Molinaro, who said this is also not the first time the village has had a comparable accounting problem.
Molinaro said employees were overpaid a few years prior to her hiring.
The overpayment issue she said, is related to the village's fiscal year that runs from June 1 to May 31. Biweekly pay, she said, does not fit perfectly into that schedule, especially when a leap year is at play.
But, if the village pays employees two times a month, the issue could be remedied, she said, but would require union negotiations.
All accounting errors have been corrected with deductions made to the paychecks of the employees who were overpaid, Molinaro said.
However, despite the correction, four village board members, last week, voted 4-1, to hire an attorney at a rate of $175 an hour, not to exceed $5,000, to audit the village's books. The trustees, when reached by Patch for comment, did not specify the exact reason for the audit, but each indicated that watching the village finances is part of their jobs and that the resolution speaks for itself.
Mayor Conrad Teller cast the lone dissenting vote, saying that the village already has an outside auditing firm, Satty, Levine & Ciacco, which the village pays $30,000 a year and is currently conducting a scheduled annual audit.
The mayor stated, "To the extent any issues are uncovered during the course of the annual audit or any other review of the Village finances, they will be addressed. However, I am confident the village has been and currently is complying with all policies, laws, rules and regulations.
The mayor's full statement is attached to this post as a PDF.
For more headlines from the Village of Westhampton Beach, click here.
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