A one year review by Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw has uncovered nearly $1.5 million in assets missing from the Town of Boston’s inventory, most of it from the Highway Department.
“No idea what happened to this equipment, whether it was lost, stolen, destroyed, sold,” Mychajliw told reporters in an afternoon announcement at the Rath Building.
Mychajliw named a laundry list of missing equipment in his 11-page review of town assets, including large items such as dump trucks, pickup trucks, excavators, and snow plows, and a lot of office equipment such as computers, laptops, copy machines, and computer printers.
The top-to-bottom review of Boston’s assets was undertaken at the request of the town’s new supervisor Jason Keding, covering assets in Boston’s inventory going back about 40 years.
Mychajliw believes the million dollar discrepancy is due more to sloppy record-keeping than theft or criminal mischief, “Do I believe some equipment walked out the door? Yes, it is possible. We can’t prove that because of the fact that a lot of this goes back to the 1970’s.”
Keding said the town–specifically the highway department–needs to do a better job of keeping up with its property, “Let’s say for an example, if it is something small as a printer, each piece of equipment should have an ID tag uniquely identifying that piece of equipment to then coincide and tie back to the inventory list.”
Town of Boston Highway Superintendent Bob Telaak wondered why Mychajliw and Keding did not discuss the missing property with him before suggesting his department is in disarray.
“I would love to find out what happened to it, but it has not happened in the last 14 years, since I have been highway superintendent because every piece of equipment is still here.”
The highway superintendent also said some of the findings in the Comptroller’s report were wrong, such as the claim of a missing excavator, “We never, ever owned an excavator at the Town of Boston. So I don’t know where he is coming up with these wild accusations.”
Telaak pointed out there were issues with missing equipment years ago, before he becme highway superintendent. He also said he plans to meet with the Supervisor Keding soon, and he fully expects to go over the list of missing property with Keding, which would be for the first time.