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Smithfield urged to tighten policies

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SMITHFIELD, NC (AP) -- An independent audit of the town of
Smithfield's accounting system criticizes policies that auditors
say increase the likelihood of fraud.

The News and Observer of Raleigh reported Friday the auditors'
concerns echo those of town officials who conducted an internal
audit in June after a payroll scandal.

Among the irregularities was the unauthorized conversion of sick
leave to vacation time, which employees can be paid for when they
leave. The audit says in the last year, almost a dozen employees
cashed out unused vacation time worth about $80,000.

Another finding involved large, unauthorized raises to several
employees.

The auditors recommended that the town increase its supervision
of the process.

Town Manager Eric Williams was fired, town clerk Debbie Godwin
and payroll technician Lynn Powell resigned after the
irregularities were discovered.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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