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White County Commissioners Get Update On Fire Dept Policies

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
White County Commissioners Get Update On Fire Dept Policies

White County Commissioners heard from local fire department officials Monday night about policy changes in the aftermath of a theft case involving the Mt Gilead Department and the Firefighters Association.

Fire Chief Matt McBride told Steering Committee B all bank transactions involving either organization now require both himself and the department’s secretary to be present. McBride said all other financial paperwork for both entities has been locked up in a safe in the county finance office, with multiple people being notified whenever it is accessed.

“We changed everything at the bank,” McBride said. “Banks no longer do like a two-signature deal. That’s kind of policed in-house, but they did allow us to set it up that no banking business through the association or Mt. Gilead can be done.”

During Monday’s Budget Committee Meeting, Commissioner Derrick Hutchings said he is concerned about the internal checks and balances at the fire departments across the county.

“I’m not saying that I do not support our local fire departments,” Hutchings said. “I absolutely do. But we’re also doling out tax dollars that we have to account, we have to be accountable, we’re accountable for it, and they should be too, so I guess I would have questions for them on their accountability and how they allocate.”

County Executive Denny Wayne Robinson said the comptroller’s office has pushed against the county giving fire departments cash to be used as they see fit. Robinson said it will be difficult for the budget committee to ensure that fire departments are using their funds responsibly in the future.

“I don’t know what we can make them do,” Robinson said. “I don’t know. I mean, obviously we can put stipulations on the money we give, but then you’re going to have to have basically an auditor, hire an auditor or hire somebody to go out and make that that’s being done.”

Commissioner Chris Brewington said the money given to the Firefighters Association should be taken and given directly to the different districts in the county.

“I don’t see a reason for an association right now,” Robinson said. “I think that just needs to go away. Maybe fall under EMA or something, I don’t know.”

McBride said he discussed the new policies with a member of the comptroller’s office and was told they appear to be adequate.

“So that made me feel pretty good too, that it come from that organization plus our own in-house organization,” McBride said.


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