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May 31, 2007


DiNapoli Announces Fire District Training Guidelines

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today released training guidelines for fire district commissioners. The guidelines are in response to new laws enacted in 2006 to improve fiscal practices in fire districts.

Commissioners will now be required to obtain training each time they are appointed, elected or re-elected, which is usually once every five years. The training will include six hours of training on budgeting, internal controls, procurement, travel policies and ethics. The Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) was responsible for developing the guidelines for the new training requirement, which were issued to the public for comment in February.

“Fire commissioners in New York State manage more than $1 billion of public money,” DiNapoli said. “They’re also hard-working local officials who are dedicated to protecting public safety, and they deserve the support and training they need to effectively manage the fiscal operations of the fire districts around the state.”

In addition to the new training requirements, the newly enacted legislation requires external independent audits, public budget hearings, and adoption of a code of ethics. Information provided on the Comptroller’s web site to help fire district officials meet the new requirements includes:

  • Frequently Asked Questions and Answers. Common inquiries concerning the fire district legislation are answered.
  • Accounting Bulletin. Includes changes to fire district accounting and reporting requirements, which clarify the new auditing requirements.
  • Internal Audit Process for Fire Districts. Larger fire districts are required to have internal audits starting in 2007, and information is also provided on fiscal oversight, legal statutes, treasurer’s finance-related duties and a checklist for the review of treasurer’s records.
  • Model Request for Proposals (RFP) for Professional Auditing Services. Effective January 1, 2007, districts are required to use a request for proposals (RFP) for soliciting proposals for its annual audit, and a model RFP is available.
  • Model Code of Ethics. A code of ethics must be adopted by June 1, 2007, and a model code of ethics is available.
  • Accounting and Reporting Manual. OSC has updated its comprehensive guide for fire district accounting and financial reporting.

This information, along with details on how to apply to offer training, can be found at www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/fdreform/index.htm.

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