Due to several inquiries from the Herricks community, Herricks School District Superintendent Dr. Jack Bierwirth distributed procedures and policies instituted over the years to minimize the chances of wrongdoing in the Herricks School District.
Dr. Bierwirth said that the practices in place are in line with the recommendations from the New York State Education Department and the Office of the State Comptroller. He added, "They are reviewed and refined constantly."
The safeguards are:
Credit Cards-No Herricks employee is allowed to have a district credit card. If a staff member charges something (e.g. a hotel bill), they do so on their own credit card and then submit the expense, with back-up of the original bill, not a credit card statement, for reimbursement.
Hand-written Checks- The assistant superintendent for business cannot hand-write checks or sign any checks.
Employment of Relatives-The district does not hire relatives in the business office or any area that oversees the disbursement of funds.
Separation of Functions-Business office staff members who pay bills are not allowed to sign for receipt of goods or services.
Approval of Specific Contracts for Consultants-Board policy requires that all contracts with consultants which will result in cumulative payments in excess of $1,000 be specifically approved by the board.
District Vehicles-Only one person in the district-Jim Brown, director of Facilities-has a vehicle owned by the district (It is in poor condition). Should funds become available to replace it, they would have to be specified on the appropriate budget line and the vehicle bid specifically.
Detailed Budgets-When the draft budget is presented to the board, each budget line is backed up by detailed sheets. Only on lines such as fuel oil, in which the number of gallons of oil and the per gallon are difficult to predict are the number board estimates. Even in these cases, however, the draft budget line is based upon an estimate which has been specifically calculated.
Prior Year Actual Expenditures-When a draft is produced, two prior years' actual expenditures are provided. Consequently, if funds were shifted from one account to another, they would appear on the lines on which they were spent.
Monitoring of Expenditures-All schools and departments monitor expenditures charged to their areas constantly and directly (via finance manager). They do not receive their information filtered by someone else so it is not possible to spend from an account and then doctor the reports to keep those expenditures from others.
Schools and departments monitor their codes zealously. Since funds are limited, the schools and departments protect every penny and protest vehemently if anything is mischarged accidentally. They also compare what is charged with their own records.
Cash-Very limited cash is kept on hand and all cash expenditures must be backed up by specific receipts.
Transfer Policy-District policy No. 6150 covering transfers from one account to another is very strict.
Budgeting Practices-Little or no cushion is left in most budget lines. Only those lines such as fuel oil, which expenditures are difficult to predict, is there much flexibility. In other areas in which flexibility is needed (i.e. BOCES) tuition specific lines are provided for contingencies.
District Inventories-Under current New York State Education Department rules ("Capital Asset Preservation Program") we must keep detailed inventories of all equipment and capital goods.
1099 Misc.-All payments to individuals totaling $600 or more in a given calendar year unless otherwise covered on a W-2 are reported to the federal government on a 1099 Misc. form.
Student Activities-Under recently revised policies, the central treasurer for student activities cannot be an advisor to an activity. In addition, there is now a faculty "auditor" who must be an individual other than the central treasurer who audits the transactions of the central treasurer. The faculty "auditor" may not be an advisor to a club or activity.
Personnel Contracts-The business office maintains current copies of all personnel contracts. Payments are only made in cases in which such items are specifically authorized by contract language.
Conflict of Interest Statement-Certain personnel are required to sign a Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement which is held by the auditor.
Check Stock-Checks are kept in a locked cabinet and only designated individuals have the keys.
Signature Disks for Signing Checks-Disks are kept in a locked cabinet and passwords are needed to activate their use.
Accounts Payable Checks-Checks are issued after receipt of an original invoice and notification that the goods or services have been performed.
Safe-Only two individuals have access to the combination to the safe.
Issued Accounts-Payable checks are filed in numerical order making it easy to spot a missing check and easy to double-check to see that the check issued matches the cash disbursement schedule and warrant.
District Attorney's Office-Any wrongdoing is reported to the district attorney's office no matter how embarrassing it might be to the district. One case was taken to the district attorney's office repeatedly. The district attorney's office ultimately decided not to pursue an indictment.