State audit points finger at Guernsey director

NORWICH – An audit released by the New York State Comptroller’s Office found the director of the Guernsey Memorial Library made $15,000 in questionable purchases between July of 2005 and August of 2007.

The audit, released Thursday, claims Guernsey Memorial Library Director Melanie Battoe purchased restaurant meals, groceries, beverages, gifts and other questionable items using library money, and that the purchases were made with little oversight by the library board of directors. The audit also claims Battoe’s husband received $7,800 for computer repairs and service without proper authority or a written contract.

“When tax dollars are involved, taxpayers should be protected,” State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said in a press release. “And government contracts should avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest. Groceries and gifts don’t seem like appropriate government expenses, and giving business to family members without a written contract is usually not a good idea.”

The audit found numerous questionable expenditures, including expenses of $2,100 for travel, $1,500 on restaurants, $3,000 for food and beverages, $800 for gifts and other purchases made from online vendors, discount stores and grocery stores.

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