Accounting policies conform to accepted principles

Letters to the Editor
March 26, 2008 at 1:49 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

To the editor:
I am writing in response to the article that appeared in last week's issue of your newspaper. Unfortunately, the attention-grabbing headline does not reflect the content of the article. It also does not reflect that the audit determined the accounting and reporting policies of the St. Rose Volunteer Fire Department do, in fact, conform to generally accepted accounting principles as applicable to governmental units.

I have been a member of the St. Rose Volunteer Fire Department since 1988, and when I joined, I did so for the same reason that drove me to run for public office. That is, very simply, to help people. It has been my absolute pleasure to be in a position where I could provide the members of my community with services that hopefully, they will never need, but in that time of crisis, they will forever appreciate. And I look forward to continuing to volunteer my services to the public as both a fireman, and now as a councilman, well into the future. During my tenure with the St. Rose Volunteer Fire Department, I have served as a lieutenant, a captain, its president, a board member and now as its fire chief.

In fact, I have been the fire chief for the St. Rose Volunteer Fire Department for the past 14 years, and as the chief, it is my duty to attend the fires and the drills and practices undertaken by the fire department. These fires and drills number in the hundreds per year. I have done my best to fulfill my responsibilities as fire chief, and I will continue to do my best for years to come.

That is not to say that, just as in many businesses, there is not room for improvement. The audit in question does raise certain questions, and when I was made aware of these, I met with the department's treasurer, its president, vice president and board members in an effort to address the issues. I am happy to report that the questions raised by the audit have all been satisfactorily answered. All funds are accounted for and no money is missing.

Now, as a councilman, I am in a position to work toward a goal that is very simple - - the adoption of a policy and the implementation of a procedure that will minimize, if not eliminate, the possibility of audit questions and bookkeeping errors occurring in the future. As volunteer firemen, we join the various departments for the purpose of fighting fires. For thxe most part, we are not bookkeepers. I will work with the parish president, and the finance department with the goal of providing the nine departments with the assistance that we deserve so that, at any given time, the parish and the public will have the financial data necessary to know that all funds are being properly handled and transactions are accurately and timely documented. It is not my intention to micro-manage any of the nine fire departments. Rather, it is my desire to implement a program that will minimize any unintentional accounting errors, and prevent any unjustified propaganda.

As always, I am looking forward to continuing to serve the people of St. Rose, District V and St. Charles Parish.

Larry Cochran,
     District 5 Councilman
     and Fire Chief, St. Rose                                                                               Volunteer Fire Dept.

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