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OpinionEditorial

Fire districts caught abusing taxpayer money

Firefighter.

Firefighter. Credit: iStock

A North Patchogue fire chief using his departmental vehicle for official duties as well as commuting to New York City used 10,000 gallons of department gas over five years, a state comptroller audit found. The district said that was OK because the chief had permission to use the car to commute. That's unacceptable. Taxpayers should not pay personal expenses.

Other recent fire district audits found Lake Ronkonkoma and Hewlett Bay did not use competitive bidding, Islip Terrace lacked payroll controls, Lakeland officials spent $13,000 at a Las Vegas conference without attending any sessions, and Uniondale had questionable credit card purchases among other irregularities.

Fire districts must spend taxpayer dollars properly. That some haven't gotten the message shows why the audits are important and must be continued.

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