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Audit shows local fire district treasurer made over $15K in ‘questionable payments’ to himself, his business without sufficient documentation

The Sodus Center Fire District has come under scrutiny from state auditors following an investigation into the oversight of financial operations between January 1st, 2015 and March 13th, 2017.

The audit findings were released on May 22nd as part of a batch of reports from the New York State Comptroller’s Office.

The Sodus Center Fire District is located in the Town of Sodus in Wayne County. The District is a district corporation of the State, distinct and separate from the Town, governed by an elected five-member Board of Fire Commissioners.

Audit findings determined the following points:

  • The Board maintained a lax control environment and did not carry out its responsibility to oversee District financial operations and safeguard District assets.
  • The Board allowed the Treasurer to perform all key aspects of District financial operations without providing independent oversight.
  • The Treasurer made $15,943 in questionable payments to himself and his business and did not provide sufficient documentation for $6,934 in other questionable disbursements.
  • The Board conducted business at its meetings without a quorum of Board members in attendance.
  • The Board did not ensure that the Treasurer submitted the required annual financial reports and tax levy limit calculations to OSC.

District expenditures for 2016 totaled $108,631.

Moving forward, auditors made the following recommendations to The Board:

  • Take a much more active role in managing the District.
  • Ensure that the Treasurer’s duties are segregated or implement compensating controls.
  • Review the questionable disbursements and seek reimbursement from the Treasurer for any misappropriated money.
  • Ensure a majority of Board members meet on a regular basis, at least monthly, to conduct
  • District business and notify the public of meeting times and dates.
  • Prepare and submit accurate annual financial reports and tax levy calculations to OSC in a timely manner.

Read the full-report here.