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March 14, 2014
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Nevada County Consolidated Fire's draft audit shows $300,000 deficit

The financial books for Nevada County Consolidated Fire District are generally in good shape — except for a $300,000 deficit in funds used to cover accumulated vacation pay and other costs.

“There were no significant deficiencies this year (in the books),” James Roberson, of Grass Valley-based McSweeney Associates accounting firm, told the fire district board at a public meeting on Tuesday. A significant deficiency would be an error in accounting or record-keeping, he said.

Roberson also said he did not find any evidence of malfeasance or malfunction, such as what is called “material misstatements,” he said.

Roberson declined to release copies of his draft 2013 audit report to the public Tuesday. He said the draft was for board discussion and review only.

A final audit report will be unveiled and available to the public at the next board meeting on March 20, he said. The meeting will be 7 p.m. at Station 84, 10135 Coyote St., Nevada City.

Board Chairman Warren Knox said he was concerned about the $300,000 deficit identified by Roberson. Much of the money in that fund would be to cover back vacation pay and accumulated sick pay if a staff member resigned or retired.

“What do I, as a board member, need to do to eliminate that deficit and make sure it doesn’t show up again next year?” Knox asked Roberson.

“You’re not going to eliminate it in one year,” Roberson said.

“You need to start setting money aside on a regular basis.”

Much of the work on the books was done by Interim Finance Manager Jeff Van Groningen.

The board did not address any proposed realignments in the budget in light of recently announced staff changes and promotions. Earlier this month, Interim Chief Jerry Johnson announced he would leave his post at the end of March due to the expiration of his allotted hours under the state’s guidelines for retirees who accept temporary work.

Two Consolidated battalion chiefs were promoted on an interim basis to cover the top management slot until the district could hire a new fire chief.

To contact Staff Writer Keri Brenner, email or call 530-477-4239.

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The Union Updated Mar 15, 2014 01:01AM Published Mar 18, 2014 11:10AM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.