Auditor General DeFoor Releases Audits for Volunteer Firefighters' Relief Associations in Seven Counties


April 29 2021
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Auditor General DeFoor Releases Audits for Volunteer Firefighters' Relief Associations in Seven Counties

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HARRISBURG (April 29, 2021) – Auditor General Timothy DeFoor today announced the release of audit reports for volunteer firefighters’ relief associations (VFRAs) in Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, and Northampton counties.

“Thousands of volunteer firefighters benefit from the state aid delivered through relief associations,” DeFoor said. “Our department’s audits make sure they have the life-saving equipment, critical training and insurance they need to help keep Pennsylvanians safe.”

DeFoor also praised the Broughton, City of Reading, Sellersville, Phoenixville and Londonderry Township VFRAs for having no audit findings.

The Department of the Auditor General distributes state aid for VFRAs and audits how they use the funds, which are generated by a 2 percent tax on fire insurance policies sold in Pennsylvania by out-of-state companies.

In 2020, $60.25 million went to 2,518 municipalities for distribution to VFRAs to provide training, purchase equipment and insurance, and pay for death benefits for volunteer firefighters.

Relief associations are separate legal entities from the fire departments they support. VFRAs must comply with applicable state laws, contracts, bylaws and administrative procedures in managing the receipt and expenditure of relief association funds or face the potential withholding of future state aid.

Audit reports are available online using the links provided below, or at www.PaAuditor.gov/audit-reports.

Allegheny County

Broughton Volunteer Fire Department Relief Association – No findings.

Berks County

The Volunteer Firemen’s Relief Association of the City of Reading – No findings.

The Volunteer Firemen’s Relief Association of West Reading – One finding. Noncompliance with prior audit recommendation on failure to maintain a complete and accurate equipment roster. The relief association purchased $16,775 of equipment, but $12,879 of the purchases were not properly accounted for on the VFRA’s equipment roster.

Bucks County

The Volunteer Firemen’s Relief Association of Sellersville – No findings.

Carbon County

East Mauch Chunk Volunteer Fireman’s Relief Association – One finding. Noncompliance with prior audit recommendation on failure to maintain adequate bond coverage on its disbursing officer, as required by state law.  

Chester County

Phoenixville Volunteer Firefighters Relief Association – No findings.

Dauphin County

Londonderry Township Fireman’s Relief Association – No findings.

Northampton County

Nazareth Firemen’s Relief Association – Four findings; one observation. The relief association was unable to provide adequate supporting documentation for expenditures amounting to $1,467 to an equipment vendor. The association did not maintain a surety bond in a sufficient amount to cover its disbursing officer as required by state law. It failed to maintain a complete and accurate equipment roster, leading to $117,591 in undocumented purchases. It also failed to maintain a state sales tax exemption number, which expired in 1994. Observation: The association failed to ensure that all cash deposits were below the FDIC coverage limits per account.

Learn more about the Department of the Auditor General online at www.PaAuditor.gov.

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