West Friendship Volunteer Fire Department Deputy Chief H. Mitchell “Mickey” Day might have engaged in fraud, waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars while he was chief, a Howard County report found.

In an audit released July 22, County Auditor Craig Glendenning detailed numerous allegations of misuse against Day, who served as West Friendship’s chief for approximately 20 years before 2018 and is now deputy chief. Glendenning’s report alleges the incidents occurred while Day was chief. Day opted to run for deputy chief this election cycle, according to Trent Fuller, chairman of the West Friendship Volunteer Fire Department’s board of directors.


Day, who is also now in his third term as president of the Howard County Fair Association, according to its website, did not respond to an email request for comment.

Glendenning said a “pervasive lack of supporting documentation limited our ability to determine the extent of certain findings.”

The report, which reviewed the department’s financial records of fiscal years 2014 through 2018, states Day racked up $27,524 in cellphone charges that were paid for with county funds. Day used his family business to establish cellphone service and purchase cellphone equipment on behalf of the volunteer fire department, according to the report.

Day “invoiced West Friendship for this service yet failed to provide adequate documentation to support these costs, some of which were questionable,” the report says.

The report states Day used county dollars to pay for at least seven cellphones and that one of the phones paid for with county funds was provided to a person not associated with the volunteer fire department. Glendenning could not determine the users for three other numbers as the numbers were not associated with any specific West Friendship volunteer.

The report states Day “agreed that West Friendship should not have paid for the non-volunteer’s phone service and stated that the other three numbers were rotated when there were changes in officers.”

In a response in the report, the West Friendship Volunteer Fire Departent determined there was an operational need to provide cellular phones to the department’s senior leadership in order to efficiently and effectively run the department.

The report also states Day used his position to order and/or approve $6,307 of non-cellphone purchases from his family business. Day made $5,892 in purchases from his family business with only his signature on the purchase order without independent review or approval. An additional $415 in purchases were initiated by another individual and approved by Day, the report says.

The report also found the fire department purchased and distributed gifts with a total minimum value of $9,260 over the five-year period using county funds. Because of the number of purchases that did not come with itemized receipts, Glendenning could not determine the full extent of county funds used for the gifts.

Items totaling at least $11,860 in value were purchased with West Friendship-issued credit cards and shipped to Day’s home or business instead of directly to the station, which is located off Old Frederick Road in Sykesville. The items sent includes computer equipment, the report said.

The volunteer fire department has no policies on when this procedure may be appropriate and no required documentation to ensure subsequent delivery of the items to West Friendship. In addition, many of the purchases were not supported with detailed receipts. West Friendship personnel said they believed sensitive items may go missing if delivered directly to the station.

At least $130,135 of Day’s and Treasurer Steve Fleming’s credit card purchases over the five-year period were not supported by itemized receipts, and therefore the actual goods purchased could not be identified, the report says.

A spokeswoman for the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to an email inquiring if the county planned to file charges against Day.

West Friendship Chief Mark Miller deferred an inquiry for comment to Fuller, who referred to the department’s answers in the audit.