10-25-12: Courtesy of YNN. The Erie County Comptroller’s Office examined two funds generated by commissary purchases and telephone calls at the County Correctional Facility in Alden from January 2011 to May 2012. “Really, what it comes down to folks is we’re at a 74 percent rating. If you were taking a test, would that be acceptable?” asked David Shenk, Comptroller. According to an audit, about a quarter of the money spent from those funds was questionable or unacceptable. The funds were used to buy vehicles, furniture and K-9’s. “A K-9 patrol out on the road, what does that have to do with inmate rehabilitation and welfare?” Shenk asked. In 2010, the Sheriff separated the telephone fund from the commissary fund, which is earmarked by the state for purchases that benefit inmates. The sheriff said the telephone fund doesn’t have the same restrictions. “Historically, there was always guidelines because they were merged. So merely extracting them doesn’t make it appropriate without guidelines,” Senior Auditor David Kinda said. Shenk said he’s sending a letter to the New York State Commissioner of Corrections with recommendations to tighten the rules. “There have been people who have stated that these funds are the closest thing to a legalized slush fund in New York State,” Shenk said. In a detailed response to the audit, the Sheriff’s Office justified most of the purchases. The Erie County Executive said he will review both documents. “I think what’s most important is to fix

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