Squad continues work on protocols

Published 10:40 am Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Leaders of the Buckingham County Volunteer Rescue Squad (BCVRS) continue to take steps to address concerns and allegations of mismanagement in the agency resulting from an audit commissioned by the BCVRS.

The audit examined operations between fall 2012 to fall 2015. Its results were presented to the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors and discussed in a December meeting.

When The Herald reached out to the BCVRS President Lisa Dunkum, she said the agency preferred not to speak with the media.

“We aren’t going to entertain any more of the media,” Dunkum said, citing the information could needlessly stir controversies about the issues the agency is working to address.

Dunkum said the squad is addressing the issues within the agency, noting the resulting information would be made available to the public.

“We are working with the squad, the county and the public,” Dunkum said.

The audit alleged “mismanagement and lack of accountability with the agency’s finances,” and included “failures to properly monitor finances, overdrawn bank accounts, a loss of about $400,000, thousands of dollars paid in late fees and penalties, bank accounts in the red, tension among volunteers and a “‘loss of confidence in the general public.’”

The agency’s board of directors were elected in November. Dunkum became president in January.

In a previous interview, Dunkum, Kerry Flippen, BCVRS vice president; and Keri Sage, the squad’s treasurer, said they were not involved in supervising of finances during the time of the scathing financial audit. The three agreed during the interview that criminal wrongdoing was potentially committed during the recent turbulent financial times at the agency.

“The current board had no idea that a lot of these things had gone on because … Robinson, Farmer and Cox picked that up,” Dunkum said during the interview, referring to the firm that conducted the audit. Dunkum acknowledged rescue squad officials first noticed mismanagement and financial problems once the 2015 internal audit was completed.

Referencing the loss of county funds when they weren’t requested, Dunkum said the loss of available funds totaled about $600,000 rather than the $400,000 reported by auditors.

“It wasn’t us. We don’t know why,” Flippen responded when asked why BCVRS didn’t request county funds during the time period. “I really don’t know.”

The professional audit was performed after a 2015 internal audit alleged missing receipts, missing invoices, expenditures greater than $500 not authorized by the BCVRS board of directors and multiple credit and debit and check cards “with different names.”