Firefighters getting financial house in order

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Sep 29, 2010 - 06:05 PM

In the wake of the embezzlement of over $200,000 in fire department funds in 2008 and 2009, Mathews County firefighters are wondering what the department’s financial picture is going to look like at year’s end.

As of Monday, about a month and a half into the annual fund drive, the department had received $45,930 in donations. But department members don’t have any idea whether that’s good or bad.

"We don’t accurately or truthfully know how that compares to the past," said fire chief Ricky Tomlinson.

In recent years, the annual fund drive has typically raised between $75,000 and $80,000, said Tomlinson. But that was before former treasurer Paul Reardon, sentenced last week to five years in prison, embezzled $216,500 in fire department funds on 101 separate occasions over a two-year period. Reardon pleaded guilty in July to one felony count of embezzlement.

Now the public is questioning the membership’s ability to control its finances, and members are wondering what impact that will have on next year’s budget.