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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Length of Service Award Programs (2014-MS-1)
We also released ten letter reports to the following: Belgium Cold Springs Fire District [pdf], East Greenbush Fire District No. 3 [pdf], Holtsville Fire District [pdf], Lake Ronkonkoma Fire District [pdf], Maynard Fire District [pdf], Mechanicstown Fire District [pdf], Mechanicville Fire Department [pdf], Penn Yan Fire Department [pdf], Walden Fire District [pdf], and West Seneca Fire District No. 5 [pdf].


Released: February 6, 2015 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to determine if fire districts and municipalities were awarding Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP) service credits to volunteer firefighters accurately for the period January 1, 2012 through March 31, 2014.

Background

Fire districts and municipalities have the option to offer pension-like benefit programs – LOSAPs – to facilitate the recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters. The fire district or municipality that sponsors a LOSAP is required to establish a point system that complies with New York State General Municipal Law (GML). The point system specifies how points toward LOSAP service credit will be earned by volunteers. GML establishes the activities that can be included in the point system and specifies the maximum number of points that can be earned for performing each activity. Volunteers earning 50 service award points annually must be credited with one year of LOSAP service credit.

Key Findings

  • Four of the 10 Sponsors we audited did not adopt LOSAP point systems that were in compliance with GML and one Sponsor applied its point system in a manner that was inconsistent with GML. As a result, 14 volunteers did not receive accurate LOSAP service credit.
  • Volunteers’ point totals were not accurately calculated and LOSAP service credit was not subsequently awarded to volunteers who earned 50 or more points at four of the 10 Sponsors, resulting in 22 volunteers not receiving accurate LOSAP service credit.

Key Recommendations

  • Review and amend LOSAP point systems to ensure they are consistent with GML.
  • Ensure volunteers receive LOSAP service credit when they have earned at least 50 points.
  • Ensure that points are accurately awarded and recorded.

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