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C’Ville Fire District audited over credit card use

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A state audit released yesterday found the Cortlandville Fire District “did not ensure that certain credit card charges were supported, for appropriate purposes or paid timely” between January 2018 to November 2019.

Compiled by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office, the report calculated a total of $18,124 in approved charges that had no adequate supporting documentation behind them.

Around $400 in late payments and $200 for interest were also found.

Additionally, the report scrutinized just under $500 spent on “inappropriate gifts” like a $100 gift card, a custom frame, an edible arrangement and a chocolate gift basket.

The following is an excerpt from the full report:

“Each month, the Treasurer presented the credit card claim vouchers and supporting documentation from the purchasers (e.g., receipts and invoices) to the Board for audit and approval for payment.

However, the Board did not ensure the Treasurer reconciled the monthly credit card statements to receipts and invoices or that all charges on the statement were supported by the claim voucher before approving credit card claims for payment.

Although the Board did review the statements (which were included in the Board meeting minutes) for accuracy, it did not ensure that the detailed receipts were attached to the claims.

According to interviews with Board members, when receipts were received earlier or later than the statement, the receipts were not reconciled to the corresponding statement.

Therefore, when the Board approved these expenditures for payment, it did not have sufficient information to determine whether the costs were for a proper use of District money.”

Yesterday’s report included a letter sent by C’ville Fire District Chairman on June 16, 2020, addressing each of the state’s recommendations with steps either taken or being planned to comply.

One example is a policy update enacted in April that reduced the number of alloted credit cards from seven to three – namely, the Fire District Chairman, Vice Chairman and Secretary.

However, the comptroller was not entirely convinced with the district’s response:

“Aside from verbal assertions, District officials were unable to provide evidence that the purchase of gifts identified in the audit report were for, and reimbursed by, the Cortlandville Fire Department,” concluded the report.

Click here to view the full audit by the state comptroller’s office.

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