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Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Commack Fire District – Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Operations (2011M-243)


Released: March 9, 2012 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to examine internal controls over financial operations for the period January 1, 2009 to November 30, 2010.

Background

The Commack Fire District is located in the Towns of Huntington and Smithtown in Suffolk County. The District is a district corporation of the State, distinct and separate from the Towns, and governed by an elected five-member Board of Fire Commissioners. During the 2010 fiscal year, the District’s general fund budget totaled $3.7 million, which was funded primarily through property tax revenue.

Key Findings

  • The Board did not ensure that claims were audited prior to payment and did not provide adequate oversight of the Treasurer’s duties.
  • The Treasurer performed virtually every aspect of financial operations with limited oversight and the Board did not implement adequate compensating controls.
  • The District did not have an adequate system of internal controls in place to ensure that its Length of Service Awards Program (LOSAP) service credit was accounted for properly.
  • District officials have not sufficiently addressed the security and safeguarding of the District’s IT resources, systems, and financial data. The District has not developed a formal disaster recovery plan to address the effects of potential disasters.

Key Recommendations

  • Audit and approve all claims prior to payment.
  • Segregate the Treasurer’s duties so that he does not control all aspects of financial transactions.
  • Amend the LOSAP procedures to ensure that service credit is awarded only to those volunteers who are eligible.
  • Adopt and implement a comprehensive computer policy for District IT operations. Establish guidelines for acceptable use of equipment and systems and access rights and develop a 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