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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Tupper Lake Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. – Misappropriation of Funds and Board Oversight (2014M-229)


Released: February 24, 2016 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to evaluate internal controls over the Department’s financial operations for the period April 1, 2009 through December 31, 2013.

Background

The Tupper Lake Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. provides fire protection to the Town and Village of Tupper Lake and the Town of Santa Clara, in Franklin County. The Department is governed by a 12-member Board of Directors. It receives foreign fire insurance money and conducts fund-raising to supplement the money it receives in the Village budget. In December 2014, the former Treasurer provided a statement in which he stated that, during a period of three to four years, he used Department credit cards for his personal use and took cash from Department fund-raising events.

Key Findings

  • The bylaws do not contain adequate guidance and procedures to ensure that the Treasurer reconciles all bank statements with Department records and reports bank account activity to the Board monthly and annually.
  • The Treasurer did not present any claims to the Board for its review and approval.
  • The Treasurer did not maintain cash receipt records or other documentation to verify the amounts raised at fund-raisers.
  • The Board did not establish any policies and procedures for credit card usage.

Key Recommendations

  • Amend the bylaws to contain adequate guidance and procedures to ensure that the Treasurer reconciles all bank statements with Department records and reports bank account activity to the Board monthly and annually.
  • Ensure that the Treasurer present all claims to the Board for approval prior to the disbursement of funds.
  • Ensure that fund-raising events have detailed records of collections and that receipts are deposited in a timely manner.
  • Develop, adopt and implement written policies and procedures to control and monitor the use of Department credit cards.

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