Copiague Fire District– Mechanic Shop Operations (2021M-93)

Issued Date
September 02, 2022

[read complete report - pdf]

Audit Objective

Determine whether the Copiague Fire District (District) Board of Fire Commissioners (Board) and District officials adequately monitored the mechanic shop’s (Shop’s) financial condition and safeguarded District assets.

Key Findings

The Board and District officials did not adequately monitor the Shop’s financial condition or safeguard District assets, resulting in a 36-month operational deficit totaling $676,389. As a result, District taxpayers are paying for the majority of the costs for providing services that do not benefit them.

The Board allows Shop employees to use the Shop and equipment for personal business. We observed the senior mechanic fixing six privately-owned vehicles during normal business hours; he earned overtime on some of these days. Over a 34-month period, the senior mechanic was paid $40,971 in overtime. The Board also provided the senior mechanic with a vehicle for personal use as a fringe benefit.

Shop employees used at least $5,365 of District funds to purchase auto parts to repair vehicles not owned by the District or municipalities the Shop services. We also examined one parts invoice where 81 parts were purchased; however, for 72 parts totaling $3,208, we could not determine what vehicles were repaired or whether the cost of the parts were recovered from the vehicle owners.

Key Recommendations

Establish policies, procedures and internal controls to ensure self-sufficiency and the safeguarding of District assets.

District officials disagreed with certain findings in our report. Appendix B includes our comments on issues District officials raised in their response.