State Comptroller Says Elected Officials Received Unentitled Vacation Benefits

MAYVILLE-An audit released from the State Comptroller’s Office Wednesday morning revealed three elected officials from Chautauqua County, including Sheriff Joseph Gerace, received a total of $14,875 in unentitled vacation benefits between 2013-14.

According to the audit, Gerace collected $7,933 in said benefits between 2013-14. Former county executive Greg Edwards received $4,904 in benefits in 2013 while former county clerk Sandy Sopak gained $2,038.

The three elected officials have no basis upon which to accrue vacation or sick leave credit because they aren’t required to adhere to fixed work schedules per Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. DiNapoli concluded the county shouldn’t have paid the vacation benefits.

DiNapoli also said the county overpaid 23 elected officials and 94 management employees were overpaid approximately $26,400 in 2015. The overpayments reportedly occurred because county officials did not calculate biweekly gross wages while compensating these officials and employees for one day of pay in excess of their approved annual amounts.

Absent any corrective action taken by County officials, the County will likely over pay them an estimated $27,000 in the 2016 fiscal year.

The following were key recommendations from DiNapoli:

  • Provide adequate oversight of the investment program to ensure that all investments are made in the County’s best interests and are in compliance with adopted policies and General Municipal Law (GML).
  • Consult with the County Attorney and, to the extent possible, recover salary and benefit overpayments made to elected officials and management employees and establish adequate written policies and procedures to ensure that elected officials and management employees are annually compensated at their approved salary amounts.
  • Cease allowing elected officials to accrue and be paid for vacation leave.





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