State audit accuses Copiague Fire District of indiscriminate spending funded by taxpayer dollars

The audit accuses the fire district of indiscriminate spending that includes a $1,500 steakhouse dinner and hundreds of purchases with no receipts to back them up.

News 12 Staff

Mar 25, 2022, 2:10 AM

Updated 754 days ago

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Findings of a state audit have landed the Copiague Fire District in hot water over some of its accounting practices.
The audit accuses the fire district of indiscriminate spending that includes a $1,500 steakhouse dinner and hundreds of purchases with no receipts to back them up. According to the audit, it was all funded by taxpayer dollars.
The report released this week found that over a nearly two-year period, the district made 753 credit card transactions with no receipts — totaling more than $70,000. The district is also accused of exceeding its meal budget by more than $5,000.
Some residents call the findings alarming and are not happy that they might be footing the bill.
The audit also found nearly $2 million in checks that only had one signature. District policy requires two commissioners to sign each check to prevent possible misuse.
In response, the district pushed back on some of the findings by pointing out that it's not illegal for one person to sign checks. They did acknowledge, however, that the audit uncovered some inappropriate personal spending.
The Board of Fire Commissioners wrote to the comptroller saying, "The fire district has adopted policy changes and implemented many of your recommendations to improve the accountability under and compliance with the fire district's credit card and travel policies."
News 12 reached out to the fire chief and chairman but didn't hear back for comment.


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