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Comptroller Questions Erie Co. Sheriff's Office Spending

8:07 PM, Oct 27, 2012   |    comments
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Erie County Sheriff

BUFFALO, NY.  - There are questions surrounding how the Erie County Sheriff's Department is spending some of its funding.

Erie County Comptroller David Shenk said the department purchased various items from accounts not intended for those purposes.

Auditors looked at 2012 expenditures and found that roughly 26% or $800,000 worth of purchases were questionable or unacceptable.

The items include computer software, office furniture, K-9s and patrol vehicles.

Shenk said the purchases should have been made using money from the general fund, but instead were bought with money from the jail commissary and telephone funds.

The state regulates commissary funds should only be used for inmate welfare and rehabilitation.

Auditors also found the department could save more than $700,000 if they stop oursourcing nurses and LPNs and hire union workers at competitive wages.

Sheriff Timothy Howard doesn't believe expenditures from the commissary account are inappropriate.  He added that those funds were used because there wasn't enough money in the general fund.

The comptroller said dividing the commissary and telephone funds into two different accounts is exploiting a loophole, and he wants to see guidelines for spending the same for both.

 

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