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Johnstown official hits the ground running

JOHNSTOWN — City government’s newest one-person department has been busy since it began operating over half a year ago.

The Common Council in June appointed Darryl Purinton as the city’s new full-time internal control officer. He represents city government’s latest department.

When he was hired, Purinton said his job would entail determining if the various city departments were handling financial procedures correctly. He said his job would also involve a thorough evaluation of the financial impacts of all departments, including the handling of payroll.

Through the second half of 2019, city officials say Purinton is already preparing new policies and procedures to help city government run better far into the future.

“It’s getting there,” Mayor Vern Jackson said Monday. “We’re updating a lot of policies.”

Purinton, a certified public accountant, has been working out of the City Hall office of City Treasurer Michael Gifford. But the mayor said the two men are working jointly for the betterment of the city.

“He’s taking some of the work off of Mike Gifford,” Jackson said.

Purinton has been able to update many written policies, he said. Some new city policies and procedures are expected for 2020, the mayor said.

The city’s new internal control officer hit the ground running this year. He began by working on payroll matters. He also worked with Gifford on a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing the city had to make.

Purinton said Tuesday that his work thus far for the city has involved “various stages” and drafts.

“The first policy was the state comptroller’s report on payroll,” he said.

Other work for the city has included a fund balance policy, homeland security grant administration policy, sexual harassment policy, corporate credit card policy, and a capital asset control policy.

Purinton said his work for the city is involved and sometimes can’t be measured immediately.

“It takes time,” he said. “It’s not something like plowing a street or putting out a fire. It’s like dealing with the financial infrastructure.”

Purinton said he has taken his knowledge of the innerworkings of the state comptroller’s office and his accounting experience and applied it so far to help improve Johnstown’s internal control structure.

“We’ve worked on the investment policy,” he said.

He said he has worked with individual city departments and developed flow charts that can help with documentation in various areas, including purchasing. He said organization charts are being developed and his office is assisting on improving on older policies.

“We’ve issued a number of risk alerts,” Purinton said.

Purinton’s appointment is through Dec. 31, 2021. The city had $80,000 budgeted previously the last four years for the new internal control officer position, officials said at the time.

The council last year adopted the city’s 2019 budget, which established and funded either an internal control officer or accountant. Based on Jackson’s recommendation, Purinton was initially appointed temporarily to a vacancy of internal control officer until other administrative requirements were completed.

On May 20, the council adopted a local law to amend the City Charter to create the department head position of internal control officer. A local law was filed May 29 with the state Department of State.

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