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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

City of Lackawanna – Fire Department Time and Attendance (2012M-66)


Released: August 10, 2012 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review the Fire Department's time and attendance records for the period January 1, 2007, through March 14, 2012.

Background

The City of Lackawanna is located in Erie County. The City is governed by an elected Mayor and a five member elected Council – a Council President and four Council members representing the four wards of the City. The City's 2011-12 general fund budgeted appropriations totaled $23 million.

Key Findings

  • Firefighters did not work the required number of hours in a given year. Although it is a common practice for firefighters to trade shifts with one another, those firefighters granted the time off from their scheduled shift do not always work another shift to even the trade. We identified 28 firefighters who were paid, in total, over $80,000 for hours they did not work.
  • Certain leave records were not accurate, which resulted in the City making excessive payments to firefighters based on overstated leave balances. The City paid $39,900 to firefighters for time they did not work and for inaccurately calculated leave time.

Key Recommendations

  • Require all firefighters to comply with the requirements of their collective bargaining agreement and work their scheduled annual hours.
  • Upgrade or redesign the current time and attendance system so that it includes a method to properly document and track make-up hours and accurately account for leave time. Consult with legal counsel as to whether there are grounds to recover incorrectly calculated payouts.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email: localgov@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236