March 16, 2012
DiNapoli: Orchard Park Fire District Improperly Created and Subsidized Private Emergency Medical Service
Media Alert: DiNapoli Available to Speak in Buffalo at 8:30 a.m. at the Meals on Wheels Community Learning Center, 100 James E. Casey Drive
The Orchard Park Fire District lacked authority to finance the formation and operations of a not-for-profit corporation it set up to provide emergency rescue and first aid services, according to an audit released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
"This situation serves as an example to other fire districts statewide as the way not to do public safety," DiNapoli said. "The fire district made available cash and other assets totaling more than $1.3 million to an organization it had no legal authority to create or subsidize. In addition, the district improperly granted service credit under its length of service award program (LOSAP) to volunteer firefighters for driving ambulances for the not-for-profit.
The value of fire district assets given, loaned or leased is:
DiNapoli's auditors called on the fire district to cease subsidizing the not-for-profit, created in 2009 and known as Orchard Park Fire District-EMS Inc. DiNapoli also advised the district to stop granting LOSAP credit to volunteer firefighters for driving ambulances for EMS Inc.
Under state law, fire districts have limited authority to contract with private ambulance services to provide "back-up" service. EMS Inc. is clearly not providing a "back-up" service because, among other things, the fire district transferred its "ambulance operating authority" to EMS Inc. and no longer has authority to operate an ambulance auditors found.
Click here for a copy of the audit or visit: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/audits/firedists/2012/orchardpark.pdf