- Office of the State Auditor
Media Contact for Audit Leads to Improved Administration of Inventory and Earmarked Funds at Department of Fire Services
Boston — In an audit released today, State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump recommended that the Department of Fire Services (DFS) improve its administration of inventory of fixed assets as well as oversight of budgetary earmarks that direct funds to local communities.
The audit, which examined the period of July 1, 2016 through December 31, 2018, found DFS did not add some new purchases costing more than $1,000 to its master inventory list, disposed of assets without proper approval by the Operational Services Division, did not conduct annual physical reviews of its inventory list, and did not complete quarterly inventory reconciliations. Additionally, Bump’s audit found DFS did not have documentation to show earmarked funds were spent as intended.
“The Department of Fire Services acquires and maintains a wide variety of valuable equipment essential to its roles in training fire safety personnel, as well as in direct emergency response. In the interest of taxpayer accountability, it ought to tighten its tracking of these assets,” Bump said. “As to the earmarks, while DFS has little ability to ensure the funded projects are worthy of funding, I encourage them to better ensure that they are carried out.”
The audit recommends that DFS provide additional training on adding newly purchased assets to inventory lists, develop a plan to ensure assets are disposed of properly, and conduct an annual physical inspection of its inventory and quarterly inventory reconciliations. The audit also calls on DFS to improve its policies regarding administration and documentation of the use of earmarked funds. In its response, DFS indicated it has implemented, or plans to implement, the audit’s recommendations.
DFS provides assistance and training which is provided by the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy. DFS provides further assistance to communities through its Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Division, Special Operations Unit, State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit, and Fire Safety Division. In fiscal year 2019, DFS received $29,555,646 in state appropriations.