The recently released report on the Office of the State Comptroller audit of the Jamesport Fire District (you can download it below) has the following to say regarding signing others in for activities:
120 points were supported by attendance records where the member did
Fourteen points were supported by manual attendance records where
What Do We Recommend?
Clearly, the State believes that members should not sign each other in. In general, most would agree that everyone should sign themselves into the activity, and the practice of having a chief or other officer sign a person in should be avoided. If it absolutely has to happen, it would be better if two officers vouched for the person.
Keep in mind, although this audit was focused on LOSAP, there are other reasons, in particular workers' comp coverage and benefits, why the individual should sign in himself/herself.
Download the report and read it below:
Last time we looked at a recent audit report released by the State Comptroller. Here is another section of the report, regarding the Miscellaneous Category:
Miscellaneous – GML authorizes a service award program to provide points for
“miscellaneous activities,” with one point per activity (up to a maximum of 15
points). For this purpose, GML defines “miscellaneous activities” as “participation
in inspections and other activities covered by the volunteer firefighters’ benefit
law and not otherwise listed.” The District’s system awards points for certain
miscellaneous activities such as parades, particular fundraising events or
funerals to a maximum of 15 points. However, Board resolutions dated 2014 and
2015 include awards of five points each for additional miscellaneous activities
such as probationary firefighter coordinator and various fundraising committee
positions such as the chairperson of bazaars, boot drives, letter campaigns,
raffles and 10K/5K runs. Providing five points for such “miscellaneous activity” is
not consistent with GML, which, as previously noted, permits only one point per
The thing to note here is that the OSC doesn't criticize the District for treating the probationary firefighter coordinator and committee positions as a "miscellaneous activity" - rather, that the District awarded five points for these activities. This seems to imply that the OSC is fine with a District awarding points to individuals acting as the chairperson of a committee. A District just cannot award more than one point to the chairperson. It has been generally understood that attending a committee meeting would be worth a point, but it wasn't clear if granting a point just for being a committee member or the chairperson would be acceptable. It would seem that it is - at least, this wasn't criticized in the report.
The Office of the State Comptroller recently released the latest LOSAP audit - this time the audit was of the Jamesport Fire District. You can download a copy at the end of this post.
There are several things to react to here, which we will do in some later posts. But off the top, the following are interesting:
Training Courses - the report indicates one point is awarded per hour (there are additional stipulations). The internal Fire District policy required that the training course be a minimum of one hour (not the statute). But in this case, members were being credited points for training courses that lasted less than one hour. The report doesn't indicate if the State's formal opinion is that training should be a minimum of one hour to receive a point, but the implication is certainly there and is something to be aware of.
Drills - the report criticizes the District for granting two points for drills that last four hours. On the surface, the literal text of the statute does state that only one point is awarded for a drill, and a drill must last a minimum of two hours. Therefore in theory a drill that lasts three or four hours is still just one drill and therefore one point. Similar to calls - some calls are 5 minutes, some are 5 hours - but the same credit is awarded for both (response credit that goes towards earning the points in that category). If your department is participating in drills that last four hours, the alternative may be to split the drill into two, two-hour parts, thereby making it two separate drills.
Officers - the report criticizes the District for granting 10 points to former chiefs. The report indicates that a former chief does not meet the definition of an elected or appointed position in the statute. This is something I have argued with clients in the past. But in some departments, the ex-chief actually has responsibility at a fire scene, and so therefore could fall under "line officer". So it would be important to make clear if a former chief has a responsibility or if it is just a "social" title.
Download and read the report below: