By MICHAEL McCOY
As treasurer of a volunteer fire department who has had the experience of an audit by the state comptroller's office, I can tell you the auditors are extremely rigorous and thorough and look at every computer entry and item of paper documentation you have for every dollar of funds that came in, and every dollar of funds you paid out, including wanting to see every receipt, and all of the actual canceled checks, or photocopies of them provided by your bank.
All of our records were in order and available, all of our documentation was in place, receipts on file, and accurate financial statements that had been presented to the membership every month - as confirmed in meeting minutes - were on file and available for review. In other words, at Mayville Fire Department, no problems were found.
Imagine my surprise when it was over and the auditor said no report would be issued. No report. None. In other words the state comptroller's office is not there to praise anybody. Their function is only to uncover problems and enforce corrections. If there aren't any problems, then there isn't any report. It's that simple.
When you think about it, that is understandable. However it is unfortunate in one way, in that it can lead to a false impression in the minds of the public.
With no reports issued or publicized from any of the Fire Departments with satisfactory audits, by definition every news article anyone will ever read about a Fire Department audit in New York state will always be filled with criticisms - leading readers to very possibly come away with the (wrong) impression that every Fire Department everywhere across the state has been lax in their financial controls and record keeping of funds donated by the hardworking members of the public.
I'm here to tell you, that is not the case. Without question, some Fire Departments have problems, but they are not as frequent or widespread as the impression one could get from the news articles.
There can never be news articles about the Fire Departments with good audits, because unfortunately, no reports are issued about them.
Michael McCoy is treasurer for the Mayville Fire Department