Section B • Page 4 Northcountry News
April 27, 2012
- Notices, Letters, Opinions, Help Wanted, Etc. - Letter To The Editor_______________________________________
Your Money or Your Life
In late February, the NH Attorney General’s office issued a public report detailing signifi- cant deficiencies in the financial practices and governance of the Warren Wentworth Ambulance Service (WWAS). Warren’s Board of Selectmen held sever- al meetings to learn what the organization was doing to reme- dy its shortcomings.
inquiries were reasonable and prudent, given WWAS’ failure to comply with state law, its questionable accounting prac- tices, and the Town’s financial dealings with the “charity”.
The Board’s inquiry produced a stunning ultimatum from WWAS president Brian Clark: if the Board did not pay the $16,000 approved at Town Meeting in a lump sum, and sign a contract, WWAS would refuse service to the people of Warren. A somewhat incredu- lous Board cautioned Mr. Clark about the gravity of his remarks, but subsequently received a let- ter from the WWAS lawyer dated April 16, 2012 stating, “unless a new agreement is executed and complied with by the Town, WWAS will halt serv- ice to the Town of [Warren] at 11:59pm on Friday, May 18, 2012.”
Clark overlooked one very important fact: his “contract” demand has no legal basis, because WWAS does not pro-
vide service to the Town; it is a private non-profit charitable organization that provides serv- ice to the individual residents of the Town. It is their hard earned dollars and/or insurance policies that pay the WWAS bill – not the Town. The townspeople donate to WWAS each year, as one of a number of charities, none of whom even ask for – much less demand – a contract, or threaten to withhold service without one. And the townspeo- ple expect the Board of Selectmen to exercise proper diligence in dealing with a “charity” that does not operate in accordance with state laws and engages in questionable accounting practices.
Several very qualified commu- nity members offered to help WWAS, but were rejected out of hand. Instead, Mr. Clark hired an attorney and an out-of-state company to draft new bylaws. These bylaws were so deficient that the AG’s office asked WWAS not to adopt them.
Here are the facts:
e business practices of a tax exempt, non-profit, charity were formally investigated by the NH Attorney General’s office and found seriously deficient.
2. Town officials attempted to ensure that all was in order before paying funds to the char- ity.
The charity’s president became hostile, “lawyered up”, and produced bylaws that failed to address either the deficien- cies specified in the AG’s inves- tigation or the concerns of the Board of Selectmen.
4. He rejected generous offers by competent community mem- bers to help repair WWAS’ legal and fiscal shortcomings.
5. And finally, unbelievably, the president of this private, tax- exempt, not-for-profit charity actually threatened in writing the lives of the people of the town in which WWAS is located unless its Selectmen “pay him the money” – on his terms and without complying with the AG’s recommendations.
Why would a “charitable organization” behave this way? More specifically, why would its president do so after engag- ing in questionable financial practices?
For over 3 decades, WWAS has been part of this community. Most of its members live here, and some of its operating expenses are still covered by the town, gratis. Mr. Clark’s non- compliance with state law and questionable financial practices might be tolerable if incompe- tence was the only issue. However, his arrogance and his threat against the people of Warren are now raising ques- tions about his judgment and integrity. He has squandered the trust and good will built up over the years to the point that some residents will no longer use the Ambulance service because they no longer trust it. This bro- ken trust, rooted in Clark’s dic- tatorial attitude, WWAS’ ques- tionable financial practices, and its threat against the Town and its people, is, oddly enough, only underscored by the silent support of the other WWAS members.
It remains to be seen whether more serious consequences to the Ambulance Service will ensue.
Bob Giuda Warren, NH
Previous Page, B3 NOTICE
Additional Letters To The Editor Appear On
All Letters To The Editor Are Printed On Space Availability, And A First Come Basis. Not All Letters Are Able To Be Printed In The Paper.
We Reserve The Right To Refuse Letters Deemed Inappropriate For Our Readership.
The views and opinions expressed in the letters & opinions section are not necessarily those of the paper or its employees.
| Page 2
| Page 3
| Page 4
| Page 5
| Page 6
| Page 7
| Page 8
| Page 9
| Page 10
| Page 11
| Page 12
| Page 13
| Page 14
| Page 15
| Page 16
| Page 17
| Page 18
| Page 19
| Page 20
| Page 21
| Page 22
| Page 23
| Page 24
| Page 25
| Page 26
| Page 27
| Page 28
| Page 29
| Page 30
| Page 31
| Page 32