Friday, April 20, 2007

Hot Times At The Fire Districts

If You Don't Get The Playboy Channel At Home, Try Your Local Firehouse

As if extended stays in Vegas, departmental race cars, and excesses disguised as training weren't enough, now they're watching porn at the firehouse on the taxpayers' dime.

Okay, more like $615 for a subscription to the Playboy channel, but hey, boys will be boys -- and besides, their wives won't let 'em watch smut at home.

Look, its stress relief. Or maybe just another opportunity for firefighters to practice with their hoses.

When will such abuses of the taxpayers' trust -- not to mention the squandering of your money -- stop?

As soon as you say "enough!"

Maybe its time to fight fire with fire. Give that firehouse back to the people. Have district budgets disclosed line-by-line, and let residents vote them up or down.

Keep those audits coming, Mr. DiNapoli!
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Audit: Fire district paid for Playboy channel
By Jennifer Barrios

Four Long Island fire districts spent taxpayer money on pornography, trips for guests at conferences and extended hotel stays at conferences after they were over, according to a report released Wednesday by the state comptroller's office.

The audit examined the Syosset and Manhasset-Lakeville fire districts in Nassau County, the West Islip and West Sayville-Oakdale districts in Suffolk County, and two fire districts in upstate Monroe County -- Barnard and Spencerport.

It found "significant disparities" in how much each district spent on travel and entertainment costs, and in some cases, found inappropriate spending.

For example, the West Islip Fire District spent $615 of taxpayer funds on a subscription to the Playboy channel at the firehouse and movie channels that included adult entertainment, the audit found.

"[\S\]uch expenditures, regardless of the amount, erode the public trust," the report read.

The comptroller's office, headed by Thomas DiNapoli, recommended that the fire districts establish internal controls and guidance on spending. The report noted that "district officials generally disagreed with our recommendations."The boards of directors of the six fire districts have 90 days from Wednesday to issue a plan of action in response to the audit.

Copyright 2007 Newsday Inc.

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