© 2022 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Audit Shows Nobody KeepingTabs on Probation Department

By Joyce Kryszak

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-823197.mp3

Buffalo, NY – An audit of the Erie County probation department found mismanagement costing the county - and victims - hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Erie County Comptroller Mark Poloncarz said a review of probation accounts from 2006 to 2008 shows poor oversight going back three administrations. According to Poloncarz, the result is that at least $337,000 in restitution was collected but never paid out to victims.

Worse still, there is no record of who is owed that money. Poloncarz said it is sad that mismanagement left some people victimized a second time by the county.

Erie County taxpayers also should be sad.

The comptroller said failure to collect mandated higher probation fees also has cost the county possibly as much as $1.3 million. The higher fees were added in 2005 after the budget crisis. But Poloncarz said probation officers in some cases told probationers not to pay them. That is because a case can not be held open just because the county is still owed money. Poloncarz said it is a costly loop hole some officers apparently told their clients to take advantage of.

Last year, the comptroller's office took over fee collection recovery and now is conducting oversight of the victims' restitution account. Poloncarz said new management of the probation department and new computer equipment should further help correct problems.

Click the audio player above to hear Joyce Kryszak's story now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.