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Ontario supervisors vote ‘no confidence’ in clerk: Forensic audit underway

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The Ontario County Board of Supervisors voted no confidence in County Clerk Matthew Hoose at its regular meeting on Thursday. The board expressed concerns over Hoose’s handling of required reports and payments to various New York State entities.

The board stated that it had been made aware in June 2022 that Hoose was significantly behind in remitting required reports and payments, which had resulted in demands for payments. Despite efforts by County leadership to rectify the issue and work with Hoose, late payments and reports to New York State have continued.

Further investigation revealed that Hoose had received and deposited payments for the renewal of Notary Public licenses but failed to remit the renewal paperwork to the New York State Department of State for approximately six months, as required by statute.

The Board also discovered that Hoose maintained five bank accounts outside the County’s internal rules and regulations regarding banking, internal controls, and fiduciary oversight. In response, the County has engaged the Bonadio Group to perform a forensic audit of these accounts that are maintained in violation of municipal accounting best practices.

The County Clerk has been asked repeatedly to communicate with the Board of Supervisors and its relevant oversight committees, but has failed to attend meetings or address concerns. Most recently, Hoose failed to appear before the Governmental Operations and Insurance and the Ways and Means Committees.

In light of these issues, the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution expressing “no confidence” in Hoose’s ability to faithfully and effectively carry out the duties of the Office of the Ontario County Clerk, including the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The Board has also hired an independent auditing firm to conduct a forensic audit of the County Clerk’s financial operations and requested the assistance of the New York State Office of the State Comptroller in the effort. Certified copies of the resolution will be sent to various government officials, including the Honorable Governor Kathy Hochul, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, and the Ontario County Clerk.

The board clarified that the resolution is not meant to question the ability and effort of the staff of the Ontario County Clerk’s Office and Department of Motor Vehicles.