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Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Arlington Fire District – Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Activities and Information Technology (2011M-244)


Released: May 4, 2012 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review the District's internal controls over selected financial activities and information technology for the period January 1, 2009, through December 22, 2010.

Background

The Arlington Fire District is located in the Town of Poughkeepsie. The District is a corporation of the State, distinct and separate from the Town, and is governed by an elected five-member Board of Fire Commissioners. The District's budget for the 2011 fiscal year was $14.9 million.

Key Findings

  • The Board did not exercise sufficient oversight to ensure that the District was receiving quality services from an IT contractor to whom it paid $147,480.
  • The Board did not do a needs assessment prior to buying three sports utility vehicles, costing a total of $108,060, that the District had not yet put in service nearly two years after they were purchased.
  • The Board and District officials did not establish sufficient controls over the District's Length of Service Awards Program to ensure that qualified service award credit was being accurately reported for its volunteer members.
  • District officials have not established procedures for the backup of critical electronic data and the verification of the data's integrity, and have not developed a disaster recovery plan.

Key Recommendations

  • Ensure that all written agreements for IT services clearly define expected services, provide a means for monitoring quality and price, and provide the District and the service provider with a clearly defined and mutually agreed upon basis for determining service quality and cost.
  • Ensure that each vehicle purchased is supported by an accurate needs assessment.
  • Develop procedures to ensure that qualified service award credit is being accurately recorded and reported for the District's volunteer members.
  • Establish policies and procedures to address the backup and restoration of critical electronic data and develop a formal disaster recovery plan.

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