Ever since the New York State Comptroller’s audit of the Sweden Town Court gave the court such a bad review, some hardcore supporters of the town government have been blaming everyone but the Town of Sweden government for the problem.
Just read some of the comments posted on the zoomdune.com article, NYS Comptroller’s Audit finds numerous faults with Sweden Justice Court, and you’ll see what I mean
For example, one supporter of the town of Sweden wrote this distortion of reality, “It is very rare for an audit to not have a list of corrections issue,” then immediately started attacking the Brockport Police Department.
It’s the same old story; blame the village for Sweden’s mismanagement of the court.
For example, back on February 17, 2012 Kathy Roberts and Karen Sweeting, two employees of the Town of Sweden, contacted the Monroe County Sherriff to report that a cardboard box full of parking tickets written by the Brockport Police Department was missing from under Kathy Roberts’ desk in the Town of Sweden’s offices at 18 State Street in Brockport.
We can read the Sherriff’s Incident Report from that day thanks to David Markham’s article, Town of Sweden justice court parking ticket fiasco reported as far away as Dallas, Texas, published Saturday on the Brockporter.
According to the Monroe County Incident Report filed by Deputy Sherriff J. Morse, who answered the call, Roberts and Sweeting stated that the box of parking ticket disappeared sometime between 3:00 PM on February 16, 2012 and 10:00 AM on February 17, 2012.
Here is the exact text of the Addendum to the report.
(R) Robert is employed by the Town of Sweden.
(R) Roberts states between above dates and times an unknown person(s) took a filing box, filled with 2012 parking tickets, issued by the Brockport P.D.
(R) Roberts states the box was underneath her desk.
(R) Roberts states the parking tickets /had no monetary value. They were for record keeping only.
(R) Roberts states the parking tickets were copies.
(R) Roberts states she spoke with the court clerks and they have their copies.
(R) Robert states there has been an ongoing dispute between the village and the town regarding parking tickets.
(PK) Sweeting is the town clerk for Sweden.
(PK) Sweeting states she is unsure why someone would take tickets.
(PK) Sweeting also states there has been a disagreement between village and town regarding tickets.
(PK) Sweeting states there was a Comprehensive Plan Meeting at the above address last night.
(PK) Sweeting states there were numerous village and town officials at meeting.
(PK) Sweeting states she does not know who took parking tickets, but thinks it was someone from meeting.
(PK) Sweeting is working on a list of names that were at meeting to provide patrol.
What’s interesting is that Sweeting failed to mention that all but one person at that Comprehensive Plan Meeting represented the Town of Sweden. Only 6 people attended the meeting. Five were Sweden reps and there was only one village employee present.
And yet Kathy Roberts and Karen Sweeting suggested that the thief was likely a village employee. Why else would they both mention to the Deputy Sheriff that there has been an ongoing dispute between the village and the town regarding parking tickets?
The dispute was really quite simple: the town was not processing the parking tickets, possibly because the revenue from the parking tickets went to the village rather than the town.
That kind of problem still exists in the Sweden Town Court.
The New York State Comptroller’s audit of the Sweden Town Court stated: “the Justices have not developed a policy or procedures to enforce the collection of unpaid fines and fees.”
If you look at the statements made by Kathy Roberts and Karen Sweeting, you’ll see that everything else in their statements is directly related to the circumstances on the night/morning the parking tickets disappeared.
But the fact that there was a disagreement between the village and the town regarding the parking tickets has absolutely nothing to do with the tickets being stolen. It’s a totally different subject.
As the New York State Comptroller’s recent audit of the Sweden Town Court pointed out, the Sweden Town Court has done a terrible job of keeping accurate records on money collected from fines for traffic tickets and parking violations.
- “The Justices do not provide adequate oversight of Court operations to ensure the accurate and complete collection, deposit, recording and reporting of Court moneys in a timely manner.”
- “The Justices have not adequately segregated the duties of the clerks and do not regularly review accounting records, bank statements, or monthly reconciliations and accountability analyses.”
Moreover, the Comprehensive Plan Meeting on February 16, 2012 was held in a different location than originally planned because the entrance to the office space was blocked off, because a water pipe had burst and flooded the hall carpet.
Pat Connors left the Comprehensive Plan Meeting and went to the door every time the beeper went off, to guide people to the alternative meeting room.
The people who were looking for the courtroom that night were left wandering in the halls. Meanwhile, the office space where the parking tickets were stored in a cardboard box was never secured.
Maybe it’s time to hold the employees of the Town of Sweden, Kathy Roberts and Karen Sweeting, responsible for the disappearance of the box of parking tickets.
They worked in that area and it was their responsibility to ensure that the sensitive confidential information written on the parking tickets was not left out where it could be taken by anyone walking through the town office building.
Why was a box full of confidential information left under a desk?
Why wasn’t the confidential information locked in a filing cabinet?
Ask Kathy Roberts and Karen Sweeting. Maybe it’s time for them to admit that they are human and made a mistake.