Financial inconsistencies led to an overhaul within the Croton-on-Hudson Fire Council Audit Committee.
Earlier this year, officials became aware of the improprieties, who then alerted the Village Manager, Mayor and Deputy Mayor, who “notified the proper authorities.” The inconsistencies led to a complete overhaul of the Council’s operations.
“As you can imagine, what has ensued has been rough on us and many of us have felt saddened, angered and left with many questions,” officials said in a statement. “Needless to say, it has been a busy several months of us putting together a plan to prevent this type of occurrence from ever happening again. Working with the Village administration, our Chiefs, the Fire Council and our attorney, we have implemented a number of changes.”
In response to the inconsistencies, a new treasurer was appointed by the Fire Council, and they have terminated all debit and credit cards that were previously used. They have also eliminated an old savings account, rolling that balance to their checking account. Additionally, new checks were ordered, which will require two signatures for oversight.
Additionally, an external CPA has been hired to perform annual audits of the Council’s finances and one member of the Audit Committee has been replaced. That Audit Committee will also now audit the Council’s account every six months, instead of yearly.
Minutes from Fire Council meetings will now be made available to the public online and the Council has hired an attorney on retainer that specializes in Fire Service Law. The Fire Council Treasurer is now bonded for up to $160,000, which covers its account.
Officials said that they “are currently awaiting more information regarding liability insurance, which they hope to have for the next Fire Council meeting on Aug. 28.
“As we move forward and learn from this unexpected and dismal event, we can only hope that our loyal supporters know we will always do what we can to provide you with the most open and honest level of dialect that we can - and that you deserve,” the Council said in a statement.
“We appreciate the support that we have received during this time from all of you, and we hope that you all understand that this was not something we ever could have envisioned, and we have been working diligently to improve our policies and procedures when it comes to our finances.”
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