Fire department’s books were ‘messy,’ but not criminal, says deputy comptroller

The New York State Department of Labor has made the Copenhagen Fire Department aware of several...
The New York State Department of Labor has made the Copenhagen Fire Department aware of several safety violations.(wwny)
Updated: Jan. 28, 2022 at 5:30 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

COPENHAGEN, New York (WWNY) - The state Comptroller’s Office says while the Copenhagen Fire Department’s financial books were “messy,” it doesn’t rise to being a crime.

Deputy Comptroller Elliott Auerbach, responsible for local government and school accountability spoke with 7 News on Friday.

His team did an audit of the fire department, looking at its books during the time period of January 2019 to June 2020. The audit is critical of the way money came into the fire department through fundraisers and how money went out by paying bills, and concluded $27,000 were unaccounted for.

The audit doesn’t claim money is missing.

“In this case, it was evident that there were shortcomings on the bookkeeping side of the equation. That doesn’t mean the folks there are bad people; that doesn’t mean that they’ve done anything that was criminal in nature. It means that they need help with their record keeping. If there are other issues that come up as a result of this newscast, we certainly would not be opposed to rolling our sleeves back up and going back in,” said Auerbach.

Examples of the messy bookkeeping, described by Auerbach, included:

  • The department writing a check for $5,000 as a down payment for a bathroom remodel, but no receipts
  • A $1,000 payment to a food vendor with “clams” written in the memo line, no receipt
  • Use of a credit card to buy a new computer. He says there is a computer, but no receipts

The Copenhagen Village Board held a special meeting this week to talk in executive session about the audit and about safety violations lodged against the fire department by the state Department of Labor.

The next village board meeting is February 9.

Copyright 2022 WWNY. All rights reserved.