North Adams fires manager who took $2,200 from skating rink
NORTH ADAMS >> Darin Lane, who admitted to taking $2,200 from the city's skating rink that he managed, has been fired.
Lane, who told police he took the money from the Peter W. Foote Vietnam Veterans Memorial Skating Rink in order to pay for heating oil at his home this winter, said he intended to replenish the funds when he got his tax refund.
When reached by The Eagle on Wednesday, Lane said he wishes the city had gone "in a different direction," but he accepts the decision, adding "I'm not going to have any hard feelings."
"The rink was my life," he said. "I grew up down there."
Lane admitted to sufficient facts for a finding of guilt on a charge of larceny over $250 in Northern Berkshire District Court on April 6. The charges were continued without a finding and dismissed upon his payment of $2,205.36 in restitution the day of the disposition and $490 in court fees on the following day. He was initially placed on paid administrative leave in March.
North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright said officials grew concerned when they hadn't received any deposits from the skating rink over the span of several weeks in February.
"It's just a very very busy time, but at some point [Administrative Officer] Michael Canales and [Auditor] David Fierro, Jr., said let's go down and check things out and try to figure out where things are at."
During a subsequent audit of the rink's finances, the officials uncovered a gap of more than $2,000 between receipts taken in at the facility and money remaining in its vault.
In a conversation with The Eagle, Lane stressed that he had the money available to cover that apparent gap the day of the audit, but Fierro and Canales declined his payment.
Despite the charges brought against Lane, city officials say their internal controls over the skating rink remain sufficient. Canales and Fierro review the rink's finances every month, according to Alcombright.
"We think we have good things in place, the deposits are made regularly, and if they're not we check that. We check our expense vouchers regularly," Alcombright said. "Personally, from my past life [in banking], I think the cash controls at the rink are sufficient. I don't know how you'd really make it better."
The city expects to begin a search for a new skating rink manager in about two to three weeks, while Canales manages day-to-day operations in the meantime. Given that late spring and summer are a slow time at the rink, the change isn't expected to disrupt any programming.
"The rink will be up and running as it normally does," Canales said.
While Canales manages the rink, Fierro will continue to track its finances.
"We try to make sure that the checks and balances remain in place so that everything's done correctly," Canales said.
Lane was appointed as an interim head coach of the Berkshire Battalion men's hockey team in its recent inaugural season and later awarded a co-coach of the year award.
As of Wednesday, Lane said he is still a head coach and acting general manager of the Federal Hockey League Team and anticipates being back for a second year.
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