Four months after Donald Morey failed to get reappointed to head the Oswego County Department of Public Works, a county Legislature committee voted to have the department audited.
"Recent concerns have come to light over financial transactions and the disposition of public resources within the department," county Legislature Chairman Russ Johnson, R-Fulton, wrote in a memo requesting the audit.
The Infrastructure and Facilities Committee, which oversees the DPW, voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the request, sending it on to the Finance and Personnel Committee.
The DPW's finances were part of last year's debate on reappointing Morey. Johnson said at the time that thousands of gallons of aviation fuel had not been accounted for at the county airport, part of the DPW's operations.
A state audit of sales tax on that fuel should start in the next week or so, Johnson said. The state audit, he said, was separate from the "full financial audit" he was requesting.
Tuesday, Johnson said there were several issues that needed an audit to be cleared up:
"Up to 12,000 gallons of fuel were unaccounted for," he said of the aviation gas. "It could be a paper error. Could be theft. Could be both."
The DPW sold scrap metal to vendors who weren't registered with the county, Johnson said, and payments were made in cash. "That's not a good position to put our employees in," he said.
Johnson said he didn't know how many dollars' worth of scrap metal was disposed of that way. Scrap metal, he said, sells for about $100 a truckload.
A check earlier this year found a stack of bills that the county had sent out that had not been collected. The bills totaled about $150,000, Johnson said.
While most were from recent months, some dated to 2003 and 1999.
Letters have been sent out to those named in the bills, and more than a third have now been paid, Johnson said.
The DPW apparently has not paid some vendors, Johnson said. A county employee was recently turned away from a local store - which Johnson would not identify - because the county hadn't paid its bill there.
"The employee was told the county's credit is no good," Johnson said.
Johnson said he didn't know how much the audit might cost but said in his memo that the action was needed. "It is in the best interest of the county taxpayers and the morale and continued productivity of DPW employees to bring some finality to these and other allegations that have arisen over the years."
Morey, who retired at the end of November, was unavailable for comment.
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