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Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Thiells-Roseville Fire District – Board Oversight and Recordkeeping (2012M-11)


Released: May 17, 2012 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to evaluate the District’s financial operations for the period January 1, 2010, through May 13, 2011.

Background

The Thiells-Roseville Fire District (District) is a district corporation of the State, distinct and separate from the Town of Haverstraw and the County of Rockland, in which it is located. An elected five-member Board of Fire Commissioners (Board) governs the District. The District’s general fund budget for 2010 and 2011 fiscal years were $708,000 and $720,200, respectively.

Key Findings

  • The Board did not provide adequate oversight of the District and its financial activities, exposing District assets to the risk of loss, misuse, and/or theft. Our audit identified over $60,000 in questionable payments and other financial transactions that were a misuse of public funds and were not allowable by New York State law. For example, the District provided about $2,000 in cell phone service to the Fire Company and a cash gift of $10,000 split between the Fire Company and the Association. In addition, the District gave gifts of cell phone service, buyer club memberships, diamond rings and other items to various individuals in the District and Company.
  • A Board member assigned over $36,000 in foreign fire insurance to the Association on his own, in violation of State law. All of these examples are inappropriate use of public funds.
  • The Board authorized payment for over $9,285 for purchases that may not be actual and necessary expenses of the District.

Key Recommendations

  • Cease the practice of gifting, other than tokens of appreciation for service to the community.
  • Ensure that the annual foreign fire insurance premium tax moneys are properly received and distributed, and their use reported annually to the State Comptroller’s Office.
  • Require all original invoices and supporting documentation to be attached to claims when auditing the claims, and ensure that the claims are for actual and necessary District expenses.

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