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Smoke and mirrors

To the Editor:

Mr. Fenimore’s obsessive attacks on Margaret Bartley are in part a smoke-and-mirrors tactic to deflect attention from his and his brother-in-law’s less-than-stellar records.

Where is an honest-to-goodness fact finder when you really need one? An entity that is not vindictive and does not have an ax to grind?

Answer: the NYS Comptroller’s Office. Go to osc.state.ny.us/localgov/ to find the truth and, unfortunately, the scathing report that revealed the shenanigans that went on during Mr. Fenimore‘s tenure on the Elizabethtown Town Board.

And where was this tenacious watchdog then? Was he simply asleep at the switch, or did he encourage and condone the voodoo accounting practices that this report exposed?

For instance, why were there discrepancies between the bank statement and general ledger balances ranging from $260 to $140,260? That’s right, $140,260!

Why were four of seven expenditure accounts that the Comptroller reviewed over-expended?

Why did capital project balances vary significantly between accounting records, bank balances and the Town’s annual report? Financial reports provided to the Board by Mr. Fenimore’s brother-in-law did not accurately reflect actual financial activity which limited the Board’s ability to make informed financial decisions.

Why, instead of transferring appropriations from accounts where funding provided in the budget was not needed into accounts that were in danger of being over expended, they inappropriately transferred expenditures from over-expended accounts to accounts with appropriations remaining in order to keep expenditures in individual accounts under the budgeted figures?

Why were internal controls over the Town’s fuel inventory and usage not appropriately designed to adequately safeguard the Town’s fuel?

And, these “discrepencies,” unfortunately, are only the tip of the iceberg.

But, have you noticed? We haven’t heard a peep out of Mr. Fenimore regarding any of these activities, and I would wager a bet you won‘t.

It took a good part of Ms. Bartley’s first term in office, with the assistance of her clerk and an outside financial expert, to unscramble and straighten out the mess that was the Town’s financial records. So until Mr. Fenimore does some explaining as to the Comptroller’s charges, and until he is able to get his facts straight, he is fooling no one with his hypocritical and mean-spirited stone throwing at Ms. Bartley.

Evelyn Hatch,

Former Elizabethtown Town Board and Planning Board Member

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