Audit: Roosevelt fire officials must improve financial oversight

Roosevelt Fire District officials need to improve their oversight of financial operations and management of information technology, according to a state comptroller's audit.

Auditors found that treasurer John Witchett submits monthly financial reports to the board of commissioners that contain incomplete information, and the district's financial records have not been audited by an independent public accountant since 2010, according to the audit released last week.

The audit, which covered January 2011 to October 2012, also found that financial activity was properly recorded in the treasurer's records and disbursements appeared to be for proper district purposes.


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"The Commissioners of the Roosevelt Fire District are pleased that the Comptroller is reporting to the public that the District finances have been found to be in order," the fire district's attorney, Lance D. Clarke, said in a statement.

Clarke said the district retained the services of the same accountant as internal auditor for more than 20 years until 2010, when the law changed, requiring that a new accountant be retained. An independent auditor was sought through a bidding process in 2011 and 2012 without success, he said.

"After contract negotiations, a quality firm with a reasonable fee was acquired late 2012 and internal audits have been in process since January 2013 for the years outstanding," Clarke said.

According to the audit from the office of Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, Roosevelt's board does not formally approve attendance at conferences, and could have saved about $2,000 on two conferences had it adopted "more reasonable" meal and lodging per diem rates.

One of the commissioners has not completed the fiscal training required by town law despite a requirement that commissioners complete the required training within 270 days of taking office, the audit found.

The district has no disaster recovery plan and it has not used its outside information technology services provider to restart the district's IT operations from daily backup files in the event of an emergency, the audit found.

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