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Village resolves to rebuild its government

The Lake Placid Village Board of Trustees has been busy getting its fiscal house in order this spring in an effort to address a series of accounting problems that were uncovered in a scathing December audit from the state Comptroller's Office.

Trustees vowed in a resolution Monday to "speak and seek the truth" in all its dealings.

The comptroller's report singled out long-time village Clerk Kathryn "Kook" McKillip as the main instigator behind a series of accounting errors and recommended a criminal investigation of her actions.

Among other things, the audit found that McKillip, who was in charge of payroll, paid herself more than $22,000 she never earned.

While village officials declined to comment on the ongoing criminal investigation into McKillip's actions, Mayor Craig Randall said he has drafted a corrective action plan that addresses the clerk position along with about 23 other issues cited in the comptroller's report.

Randall said the report would be sent to the comptroller and be available for the public to view on the village's website by Wednesday.

Randall declined to talk about whether the report would determine if the board would fire or discipline McKillip, who remains employed as the village clerk, but he did say that the report adequately addressed the problem.

He said many of the village's accounting problems resulted from improper training and assignment of duties and that the treasurer has taken over payroll and other fiduciary responsibilities from the clerk.

Randall said McKillip does a "good job" as clerk, but not as a financial manager.

Community members have expressed strong support of the village board's campaign to modernize the village government and restore its accountability in the wake of the bruising state audit.

Village resident Connie Issleb was among several members of the public who commended the board Monday for "taking all the heat" and doing a "tremendous amount of work without pay."

During the board meeting, the village officially swore in trustee-elects Peter Holderied and Jason Leon.

Justice Margaret Doran, as well as various department heads and key staff, was also reappointed as a matter of form, but the village clerk was not among the positions that were reappointed.

"We'll see how that goes," Randall said, referring to the ongoing investigation.

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