Turner bolsters internal controls

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TURNER — After reviewing various town policies Monday night, selectmen moved to establish cross checks for monitoring town inventory.

In the past, the various department heads have taken inventory of fixed assets each year. Inventory lists were given to the town manager, who provided them to the auditors and the town’s insurance carrier. No cross checks of the inventories were reported by the department heads.

Selectmen felt that the policy should be strengthened. Town Manager Eva Leavitt agreed.

“Internal controls are very essential for any institution,” she said. Leavitt indicated that while there are very strict internal controls in place for handling the town’s finances, there were no such controls on inventory.

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Selectmen agreed there was little chance of major pieces of equipment being taken without someone noticing. However, they decided to require cross checks of one or more department’s inventory each year.

The discussion led them to consider smaller, easily taken equipment and fuel. Several selectmen regularly keep logs for vehicles used in their businesses. They felt that drivers of town vehicles should do the same.

They adopted Selectman Ralph Caldwell’s motion to require a log in each vehicle to show the operator, fuel added, beginning and ending time and mileage for the trip and the trip’s purpose. Leavitt will review the logs weekly and investigate any significant changes in the miles per gallon of vehicles.

Another major discussion was on handling donations for the town gazebo. A gazebo was given to Turner with the understanding that the town would not be required to maintain it or fund performances in it.

A group of residents are ready to handle the gazebo affairs and donors are ready to provide funds. The difficulty is in the expense and legally establishing a nonprofit organization, as well as problems with the town accepting funds for the association without approval at a town meeting. Selectman Dennis Richardson indicated that he felt there were established nonprofit organizations in the community that would accept donations on behalf of the Gazebo Association.

Karen Youland, wife of recently elected Selectman Kurt Youland, resigned her position on the Zoning Board of Appeals to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest. Selectmen expressed their appreciation for her service to the community.

Several noncomplying junkyards in the community have been ordered to clean up their sites. Code Enforcement Officer Roger Williams reported on the progress that was being made to bring the sites into compliance with codes.

Some landowners seem to be ignoring the June 1 deadline for cleaning up their property, while others are working with Williams in good faith, he said. “When they stop working with me, that is when we go to court.”

Administrative Assistant Sandra Philipon reported that on May 12, longtime resident Stanley Jordan, 99, was awarded Turner’s Boston Post Cane as the oldest resident in Town.

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