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Islip Terrace fire district implements changes recommended in state audit

The Islip Terrace fire district lacked proper controls over payroll documentation, employee hours worked and its claims auditing processes, according to an audit released by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's office.

In analyzing the district's financial records from January 2013 through May 2014, the audit said the Islip Terrace board of commissioners should standardize how the district pays claims, and obtain full board approval for any salary and wage increases for the district staff.

"We found that the Board did not authorize payment of claims by resolution, but instead allowed claims to be paid before its meetings after approval by any three Commissioners," according to the audit, which was released Wednesday.

The comptroller's office recommended that the fire district's entire five-person board audit all claims before payment and that the district treasurer verify the board's approvals.

The audit also recommended that the district require staff to use a time clock or fill out time reporting sheets, and also to obtain board approval for all employee pay and pay increases.

The fire commissioners have agreed to implement the audit's suggestions. In a May 13 letter responding to the audit, fire district board chairman John Faracco wrote that "a major transition of personnel during the audit period had taken place, and since then all of the recommendations have been instituted and are in place to date."

The district treasurer agreed. "Everything that was found was remediated and fixed. It's all up to date now," said Lisa Garraway in a phone interview Wednesday. "We agree with it and we've taken all the steps necessary."

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