Clear Spring Volunteer Fire Company Stops Bingo Games

The bingo fundraising games that are organized by the Clear Spring Volunteer Fire Company will be temporarily suspended until the first week of August pending the investigation of allegations of wrongdoing by some of its workers, officials announced Wednesday.

It was discovered that some of the workers of the fire department were being given money to organize and operate the fire department's bingo games and tip jar fundraising events. A probe has already been started in the finances of Clear Spring Fire Company by the Washington County Gaming Office and Maryland State Police to get to the bottom of this.

According to Robert Downs, who is the chairman of Clear Spring's standing committee, the audit of the financial records of the company is nearing its completion. Auditors in charge of the audit met with the officials last week but they cannot divulge anything from the meeting for the time being. The director of the county's gaming office, Mr. Jim Hovis said that the it is only for the time being that the details of the meeting will not be divulged.

Tom Altman and Wanda Lynch,the two employees who are in charge of the station's bingo operations, were prohibited from further involvement in any fundraising activity on behalf of the company and were also banned from setting foot on company property.

The first decision of Clear Spring's president, Ronald Poole and the other members of the committee was to ban the two from all of Clear Spring Fire Company properties, but after a careful deliberation, they decided to prohibit the two only from fundraising activities.

Tom Altman and Wanda Lynch were allowed then to attend last Wednesday's meeting. Ronald Poole said that the two were still considered members and are only restricted for the time being from any involvement in bingo related activities until the conclusion of the probe regarding the matter.

Robert Downs commented that it was an administrative action,not a disciplinary one that they had given the two and they are working hard to solve any problems regarding this matter and they are getting a lawyer to handle the case.

The Fire Department is sending out letters to the residents in the area which contains an explanation about the allegations and the steps that they are taking to solve them.


Sunday, August 13, 2006
Patrick Simons

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