Auditor General reports two findings in audit of Fairfield volunteer firefighters

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(Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

On Tuesday, Auditor General Timothy L. DeFoor announced the release of audit reports for volunteer firefighters’ relief associations (VFRAs) throughout Pennsylvania, including the Fairfield Hose Company Firefighters Relief Association in Erie County. 

Auditor General DeFoor reported two findings: Noncompliance with previous recommendation to maintain a complete and accurate equipment roster and inappropriate pre-signing of blank checks.

“Our audits make sure that dedicated volunteer firefighters have the support they need to keep Pennsylvanians safe,” DeFoor said.

The Department of the Auditor General distributes state aid for VFRAs and audits how they use the funds, which are generated by a 2 percent tax on fire insurance policies sold in Pennsylvania by out-of-state companies.

In 2020, $60.25 million went to 2,518 municipalities for distribution to VFRAs to provide training, purchase equipment and insurance, and pay for death benefits for volunteer firefighters.

DeFoor also released audit reports for Bucks, Clearfield, Cumberland, Fayette, Indiana, Lancaster, Washington and Westmoreland counties. Here are the findings:

Bucks County

Nottingham Fire Company Relief Association – No findings.

Clearfield County

Ramey Volunteer Firemen’s Relief Association – Five findings: The association failed to receive its proportional share ($33,525) from the sale of a vehicle jointly purchased with the affiliated fire company. Failure to deposit state aid allocation in a timely manner. Failure to monitor investment activity, at a loss of $16,460. Failure to provide adequate documentation to support $404 of undocumented expenditures. Failure to segregate relief association officers’ duties.

Cumberland County

Lisburn Community Volunteer Firefighters Relief Association – One finding: Failure to maintain a complete and accurate equipment roster.

Fayette County

North Union Township Volunteer Fire Department Relief Association – One finding: Noncompliance with previous audit recommendation regarding $605 in unauthorized expenditures.

Indiana County

Black Lick Volunteer Firemen’s Relief Association of Burrell Township – Two findings: Noncompliance with previous recommendation to maintain surety bond coverage on its disbursing officer as required by state law. The association also spent $150,000 toward a vehicle jointly purchased with the affiliated fire department without securing an ownership interest.

Lancaster County

Quarryville Firemen’s Relief Association – Two findings: The association spent $22,869 toward modifying a vehicle owned by the affiliated fire department without securing an ownership interest. The association also had $757 in unauthorized expenditures.

Washington County

New Eagle Volunteer Firefighter’s Relief Association – No findings.

Westmoreland County

Mount Pleasant Township Volunteer Fire Department No. 2 – One finding: The association made two unsecured loans totaling approximately $10,000 to the affiliated fire department at an interest rate below the legally required rate (3 percent) and without executing formal written agreements.

For all the latest audit reports, click HERE.

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