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NYS Comptroller


Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Hartland Volunteer Fire Company – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (2012M-189)

Released: December 7, 2012 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to examine the internal controls over the Company's financial operations for the period January 1, 2011, to August 30, 2012.


The Hartland Volunteer Fire Company is located in the Town Hartland, in Niagara County. The Board of Directors consists of the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Fire Chief, three Assistant Chiefs, two Captains, two Lieutenants, and an EMS Captain who are responsible for the Company's overall financial management. The Company's expenses totaled $136,062 for the 2011 fiscal year. The Company contracts with the Town of Hartland to provide fire protection services and also receives moneys from fundraising, donations, hall rentals, vending machines, and investments.

Key Findings

  • The President pre-signs blank checks, allowing the Treasurer to disburse funds for the payment of bills as invoices are received
  • The Board does not review supporting documentation for disbursements prior to payment, or bank statements and canceled checks.
  • The Treasurer submits monthly reports to the Board containing all bank account balances and a list of checks written during the month; however, he does not perform bank reconciliations in a timely manner.
  • Although an independent audit was not required for the 2011 fiscal year, the Board did not obtain an annual independent audit for the 2010 and 2009 fiscal years, as required by General Municipal Law.

Key Recommendations

  • Stop the practice of pre-signing blank checks.
  • Approve bills prior to payment and document such approval in the minutes.
  • Prepare monthly bank reconciliations in a timely manner and submit them to the Board for review. Review the monthly bank reconciliations and periodically compare bank statements and canceled checks to the Treasurer's disbursement records.
  • Ensure that an annual independent audit is conducted in accordance with statute.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

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