Municipal auditor pleased with CVFRD financial actions

Tuesday, February 18, 2020 - 11:21
  • Children stand in line to visit a Chugiak Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department fire engine in Town Square Park during the Winter Wonderland festivities on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)

A municipal review has found the Chugiak Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department has resolved all outstanding issues related to a 2018 audit that found deficiencies in the department’s cash-handling controls.

“Management action corrected and significantly improved all issues identified in Internal Audit Report 2018-16,” wrote Municipality of Anchorage Internal Audit Director Michael Chadwick in a memo to the Anchorage Assembly.

The 2018 audit found no financial irregularities but recommended six areas to improve and recommended the department segregate its cash-handling duties and eliminate comingling of certain funds. Chadwick wrote that the department has taken a number of steps since 2018 to improve things and recommended no further action be taken.

“Our follow-up audit revealed that action taken by CVFD was effective for all six deficiencies,” he wrote.

The actions needed were relatively minor in scope, including things like failure to have two people sign checks. And they were largely corrected after the department hired a full-time paid administrative officer, CVFRD Chief Tim Benningfield said in 2018 following the audit.

The CVFRD covers a service area of about 50 square miles and about 14,000 people who live between Fire Lake and Eklutna. The department has an annual budget of about $1 million, four paid staff members and more than 100 volunteers. In 2019, the department responded to 1,078 calls for service and logged more than 61,000 volunteer hours.

The report was released at the Feb. 11 meeting of the Anchorage Assembly. The Assembly has oversight of the CVFRD because the municipality contracts with the department to provide services in the Chugiak area.

For more on the department, visit cvfrd.org.

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