Letter: Events reflect poorly on state auditor’s office
If an honest mistake is discovered, it should be managed as a chance to educate, not to financially eradicate.
“Hello, I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.” Words that strike fear in the heart of every man, woman, child and even emaciated dogs scrounging for their next meal.
It should be common knowledge that volunteerism, in general, is declining across the country.
Many factors play into this societal phenomenon. Whatever the reasons, one fact remains: antagonistic relationships between a state auditor and the rural emergency response volunteer departments should not be tolerated. Recent stories in the news reflect poorly on the professionalism of the state auditor’s office.
The people who volunteer to serve with rural emergency services departments donate their time and efforts to stay abreast of training requirements thereby enhancing their skill set, which in turn produces safer communities. This means time away from their families and, when on calls, can mean time away from their jobs. This is not just for the volunteers who man the hoses or tend to the sick and injured. The people who are tasked with maintaining the financial reports, training records, vehicle maintenance records and staying abreast of continually changing laws and regulations are in a particularly difficult position. Many times, they are your neighbors who may not be experts in any single discipline of their position. Even if they are in a paid position, their “part time” position pays little in comparison to people who are trained to be accountants, bookkeepers, or lawyers whose jobs require them to be proficient in their field of expertise.
When the state audits small, local government boards manned by volunteers, the cost should be borne by the state or kept minimal. If there is illegal activity discovered, it should be handled by appropriate local authorities, not in news releases that could be seen as stepping stones to a higher office. If an honest mistake is discovered, it should be managed as a chance to educate, not to financially eradicate.
If we continue on the current track, the day may come when there is no longer neighbor helping neighbor. It will be the survival of the fittest and funerals for the frail.