The Office of the State Comptroller released its findings of a nearly two-year-long audit of the Kiantone Fire Department on Dec. 13, revealing both a lack of financial oversight and several unaccounted for expenditures.
In a letter addressed to Edwin Sandberg, president of the Kiantone Fire Department, the comptroller's office stated that the department's six-person board of directors failed to provide adequate oversight of financial activities from Jan. 1, 2012, to Sept. 5, 2013.
"We found no evidence that the board is adequately reviewing and approving all claims prior to payment or that a semi-annual audit is (being) conducted," said Gabriel F. Deyo, deputy comptroller. The appointed treasurer of the department is equally lax in providing monthly reports and seeking proper approval for disbursements, Deyo added.
"Although the treasurer does provide a verbal monthly report to the board, the minutes indicate that it is simply a report on bank account balances and does not include an adequate description of all receipts and disbursements for the month as required by the bylaws," Deyo said.
Other findings included payments being reviewed only after they were made, blank checks being routinely signed and original banking statements being disposed or misplaced.
"These control deficiencies expose the department to the risk that errors and/or irregularities could occur and not be detected and corrected in a timely manner," Deyo said.
The comptroller's office provided a number of recommendations to the department, emphasizing-perhaps more than anything else- the board's role in reviewing and approving payments prior to their execution. Moreover, the office recommended that the treasurer submit written monthly financial reports and retain all relevant banking records for future reference.
The board is also recommended to conduct a semi-annual audit of financial records as required by the bylaws.
The Kiantone Fire Department released a statement, acknowledging the comptroller's findings and agreeing to follow through on the aforementioned recommendations.