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Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Massapequa Fire District – Internal Controls Over Claims Processing, Competitive Quotations, and Information Technology (2012M-02)


Released: April 6, 2012 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to examine the District's internal controls over selected financial operations for the period January 1, 2010, to July 31, 2011.

Background

The Massapequa Fire District is located in the Town of Oyster Bay in Nassau County. The District is governed by a five-member Board of Fire Commissioners. The District's total expenditures for 2010 were $5,554,738 and its budgeted appropriations for 2011 were $5,638,059.

Key Findings

  • The Board is not auditing all claims to ensure that they are accurate, complete, and for legitimate District purchases. Although the Chairman of the Board or, in his absence, the Vice-Chairman generally reviews and approves the abstracts (lists of claims), all 25 of the claims we tested totaling $49,129 were not audited and approved by each member of the Board, as required by law.
  • Although the District has adopted a procurement policy that contains specific guidelines for procuring goods and services not subject to competitive bidding, there were no procedures to ensure officers and employees complied with the policy.
  • The Board does not have a remote access policy and has not entered into remote access agreements with external parties.
  • The District has no disaster recovery plan, and although there are back-up files that are stored offsite, they have never been used to ensure the process works.

Key Recommendations

  • Audit and approve each claim before payment. Adopt formal written policies and procedures to ensure that each claim contains enough detailed information, supporting documentation, and proper approvals; including claim forms, signed purchase orders, and supporting invoices.
  • Establish procedures to ensure that officers and employees obtain the required number of verbal or written/facsimile quotes for purchases under $20,000 and public works contracts under $35,000.
  • Establish a remote access policy to define who can access the system and formalize the acceptable methods of gaining access.
  • Adopt a disaster recovery plan that formalizes the procedures to store data offsite and create weekly backup files, and establishes a procedure periodically restore backup files to ensure the data is accessible.

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