North York borough concealing Liberty Fire Co. audit, councilwoman says

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
Liberty Fire Company Wednesday, March 11, 2020. Bill Kalina photo

A North York borough councilwoman stormed out of a meeting Tuesday night and declared her intention to resign after accusing fellow council members of quashing the release of a forensic audit of Liberty Fire Co.

Council member Jamie Moore rejected borough council President Richard Shank's claim in which he said the report was incomplete and not ready for public release.

"I'm just done doing this s— because you all are some f— liars," Moore said Tuesday before slamming her laptop shut and walking out of the borough council meeting room. 

The borough commissioned the audit last year after questions arose about the fire company's finances.

On Wednesday, Moore said the audit had finished its preliminary phase. Shank said Tuesday there was nothing to inform the public about it "until it's done." 

"It's really not finished because it's going before something else," Shank said. "... Until it's done, it's done." 

Moore, too, declined Wednesday to offer any more details about the audit's contents, saying only "things don't add up."

Liberty Fire Co. receives $20,000 annually from North York, Moore said. 

The York Dispatch filed a Right to Know request Wednesday seeking the audit. 

Liberty Fire Company Wednesday, March 11, 2020. Bill Kalina photo

When reached Wednesday, fire company Chief Steve Miller said he had not seen the audit and did he know what was in it.

In September, 10 members resigned from the Liberty Fire Co. The exodus was due to "conflict within members," Miller said. 

Ashley Stine, the former head of fundraising for the fire company, said she resigned  along with a former treasurer Dolly Hoover and former head trustee Marty Hoover.

"We thought things were going on, and we didn't want to be involved," Stine said. 

Sandra Hinkle, a former North York councilwoman who brought up questions about the forensic audit to Shank, said four years ago she and another council member attempted to look into the fire company's accounts.

"When you have certain people that are running the show, it's their way or the highway," Hinkle said. "I feel sad that our fire company is going to go down the tubes." 

Miller said he was aware of the forensic audit report and only met once with the auditor, Jeremy Witmer of RKL LLC, to pass along financial records including the fire company's checking accounts.

In December, responsibilities overseeing the fire company's social hall account was passed from Miller's jurisdiction to the borough, he said. 

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.