Hod Hasharon Comptroller Motti Freund has found a long list of faults and financial irregularities in the Sharon-area municipal firefighters' association, reports local.co.il. In his report for 2006, Freund found that many cities do not take the organization seriously and that several owe it hundreds of thousands of shekels.
According to the report, the association is funded by cities and towns in south and central Sharon, including several Arab towns. Mayors are supposed to attend meetings, but the comptroller found that Kochav Yair Mayor Yakov Maman, for one, missed 60 percent of the meetings. And despite Kfar Saba Mayor Yehuda Ben-Hamo being head of the association, that city owes the organization NIS 680,000. Two Arab cities also owe large sums: Taibe, with a debt of NIS 940,000, and Tira, with NIS 697,000.
The comptroller said that the organization's expenses had exceeded the budget by NIS 250,000 in 2004, mainly because of paying retirement packages, and that 80% of its expenses had gone toward salaries and pensions. He also listed other faults, including: moneys that were spent on "extraordinary expenses" without authorization; employees' accumulation of well above the permitted number of days off; the employment of relatives of senior figures in the organization; a lack of scrutiny of bank accounts; and two cases in which services worth NIS 500,000 were provided without a public tender. In addition, he said the time taken to respond to emergency calls exceeded the professional standard, currently standing at 13 minutes and sometimes at 20 minutes.
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>