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State Auditor Issues a Report on the Belvedere Volunteer Fire Company

Date Posted: Thursday, September 3rd, 2015
Categories:  Auditor of Accounts

Dover, Del. – State Auditor R. Thomas Wagner, Jr. releases an inspection report on the Belvedere Volunteer Fire Company (the Company). The Office of Auditor of Accounts agreed to perform an inspection over the Company’s financial records after the Office of the Attorney General notified us that Belvedere’s former Chief pled guilty on November 12, 2014, to theft related to his tenure as Treasurer of the Wilmington Fire Fighter’s Association and theft and forgery at Belvedere.

The Belvedere Volunteer Fire Company is plagued with mismanagement. During the period of our inspection, we found the Company struggling to pay its bills on such a scale that it puts the mission to protect loss of life and property in jeopardy.

According the Board of Director’s Meeting Minutes from March 2014, the ambulance used to serve the community “has been out of service more than in service.” Further, we found an instance where the Company’s paid EMTs did not receive their bi-weekly paychecks for an entire month. Both issues stemmed from the Company’s severe financial difficulties.

The Company did not ensure they had a proper accounting system or supporting expenditure documentation for the period under review. During the period January through May 2014, they claimed the accounting records were lost when backing up their accounting software. Correspondingly, they somehow lost or failed to obtain the majority of the supporting documentation for the same period of time. We were able to obtain the bank records directly from the bank and found that more than 78% of the expenditures were never posted to their accounting system for one of the seven accounts alone.

The Company’s mismanagement is reflected in Company officials’ inability to respond to inquiries and provide documentation during this inspection. Our report provides details of our initial request for records at the opening of our engagement, which the Company could not locate and questioned whether the former external bookkeeper still had them. It took the Company about two months to find and provide us with what little records they maintained. Throughout the inspection, it took Company officials weeks to return phone calls and email inquiries, if responses were received at all.

A copy of the complete report can be found at:  Belvedere Volunteer Fire Company Inspection

For more information, please contact Kathleen A. Davies, CPA-PA, CISA, CGFM, CGAP, CFE, Chief Administrative Auditor, at 302-857-3919 or kathleen.davies@state.de.us.

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