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NYS Comptroller


Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Westford Fire District – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (2013M-270)

Released: November 22, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to determine whether District controls are adequate to ensure that financial activity is properly recorded and reported and that District moneys are safeguarded for the period January 1, 2012 to August 1, 2013.


The District is a district corporation of the State, distinct and separate from the Town of Westford and Otsego County in which it is located. The Board of Fire Commissioners consists of five elected members. The District’s general fund budget totaled approximately $38,662 for the 2013 fiscal year.

Key Findings

The Board has not established adequate financial policies and procedures.

  • While the Board has adopted a code of ethics, it has not adopted purchasing and investment policies, as required by statute.
  • The Board also has not ensured that written procedures concerning financial recording and reporting were developed. While we found that the Treasurer does submit monthly financial reports to the Board, the informal bank reconciliations prepared by the Treasurer were not a part of those reports.
  • The Treasurer performs all duties with no Board oversight.
  • The Board does not conduct an annual audit of the Treasurer’s records nor do they contract with an independent auditor to perform such an audit.

Key Recommendations

  • Adopt an investment policy and a purchasing policy.
  • Ensure that formal written procedures relating to financial recording and reporting are developed. Reconcile the District’s accounting records to the bank statements monthly, follow up on any differences, document such reconciliations and provide the Board with a copy with the monthly report.
  • Perform routine oversight of the Treasurer such as reviewing check images in the subsequent month to verify that prior approved claims were in fact paid as directed.
  • Audit the Treasurer’s records annually or contract with an independent firm to do so.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email:
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236