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Editorial: Paperwork: Responsible use of funds requires oversight

The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

Smaller, rural communities across West Virginia rely on volunteer fire departments to respond to a wide variety of emergencies, ranging from fender benders to fully involved structure fires. The men and women who give their time to those departments have their hands full — and that’s before they have to turn their attention to paperwork and red tape while they try to manage the money they receive through state funding and other sources.

According to Mike Jones, audit manager in the state’s post audit division, they are doing an admirable job of it.

In fact, Jones told a legislative interim meeting of the Post Audits Subcommittee that of the 94 volunteer fire departments in the state, 27 have been found to be in full compliance with the applicable section of West Virginia code, with no audit finding, WV MetroNews reported Monday.

Regarding the other 67, Jones said those VFDs had differing combinations of comingled funds, unallowable expenditures and unsupported expenditures that affected only about 2% of the total funds distributed.

That’s an impressive record when one thinks about how much else is asked of the people trying to manage that money.

It is good to learn, then, that Jones and others in the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office are working to provide better support to those departments. MetroNews reports Jones told the committee there are already tools available to help VFDs follow state code, but it is often the case that those departments don’t realize they need to ask for help with those tools until after an audit.

Read more: https://www.newsandsentinel.com/opinion/editorials/2024/04/paperwork-responsible-use-of-funds-requires-oversight/

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