Audit report on COFT reveals savings for the state

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OKLAHOMA CITY – A state audit requested by Governor Mary Fallin takes a close at the Council on Firefighter Training, finding a way to save the state thousands of dollars by possibly consolidating it with another similar program.

“Council on Firefighter Training is a commission that`s set up, the money flows through the fire marshall`s office and then they`re in charge of working with different fire departments and training groups and stuff like that, recommended training,” State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones said.

Jones says through their findings, they saw a duplication of things being done through various fire services.

“We have the creation of a stand-alone agency that had to have an office and personnel and all those different things that could be done through a lot of other agencies that do similar functions,” Jones said.

He says those other agencies include the OSU firefighter training program, the fire marshall’s office and several different fire associations around the state.

“What we`re saying is the mission is important but we think it can be done a whole lot more cost effectively and efficiently if it was merged or that mission transferred to somebody else,” Jones said.

According to Jones, COFT costs the state $300,000 a year.

The audit included evaluating COFT expenses from July 1st 2012 to June 30th 2015, which totaled over one million dollars.

“You know because of the shortfall in the budget right now, we need to be looking at every aspect of what we can do to consolidate, to eliminate or to do things more efficiently,” Jones said.

He says it’s now up to the legislature or even the council itself to look at some of their recommendations and act upon those.

We reached out to COFT for comment and we have not yet heard back.