An audit by the state comptroller says the has not taken proper care to ensure that purchases it made are legitimate.
The survey, conducted by Democrat Thomas DiNapoli's office, focused on the district's system of processing claim vouchers; its handling of purchases that are not up for competitive bids and its planning for handling data in the event of an emergency.
The audit revealed that the Fire District's Board approved claims that lacked sufficient documentation. Of the 25 claims totalling $48,628 audited by the state, 20 "did not contain a claim form, purchase orders, and/or invoices to support the purchases made," according to the comptroller's report.
The audit did note that the claims appeared to be for appropriate business expenditures, but recommended that each member of the board should audit and approve all claims, and adopt policies and procedures to ensure that all claims contain enough detailed information.
District Board Chairman Michael Hanna noted that prior to the audit he had personally reviewed abstracts on every claim. The abstracts contained a list of claimants, invoice numbers, amounts claimed and payment dates. All of the commissioners received copies of the abstracts.
"Some of it's overkill, to have commissioners review every single bill and sign off on it," Hanna said, but added that the district will implement the comptroller's recommendations.
The audit also made recommendations regarding the district's purchasing practices for goods and services that don't rise to the level where a competitive bid is necessary. The audit recommended that the district ensure that they receive the needed price quotes from vendors after finding several claims that they said did not have the required documentation under the district's procurement policy.
Hanna said that in some of the cases the comptroller looked at, the district had made an agreement contract with vendors that allowed them to pay in advance for future purchases without having to resubmit paperwork.
Finally, the audit criticized the district for its handling of the recovery of data in the event of a disaster. Although the district backs up its files, the comptroller is recommending that the district establish a formal disaster recovery plan that requires it to test the backup files periodically.
Hanna said the district will comply with all of the recomendations.