For Immediate Release
February 29, 2012
Anthony I. Blenkinsop, Director of Charitable Trusts
New Hampshire Attorney General Michael Delaney reports that on Wednesday, February 29, 2012, the Office of the Attorney General, Charitable Trusts Unit (CTU) released its "Report of Findings of the Warren Wentworth Ambulance Service (WWAS)." The review was prompted by questions presented to the CTU by a member of WWAS. The member's questions and the resulting review by the CTU focused on the business practices and governance of WWAS as a non-profit entity. The CTU review did not concern the provision of ambulance services by WWAS.
The review concluded that the Board of Directors has failed to address its fiduciary duties over the past several years. WWAS has a history of weak board governance and a lack of adequate internal controls. The organization has not had a duly-elected treasurer since 2005, and the duties associated with this position have not been fulfilled resulting in poor financial oversight. In the absence of reliable financial reporting, the organization pursued various compensation and spending programs without adequate information.
The report concludes that specific steps must be taken by the organization to stabilize its financial position and improve its business practices. To that end, the report makes recommendations and requires specific actions to be implemented. The CTU will monitor the organization for compliance until at least March 31, 2013; the report provides for an extension of the CTU's monitoring if necessary.
In accordance with the CTU's findings, the WWAS must follow its by-laws and elect a qualified Treasurer, must approve an annual budget, develop procedures for cash receipts and disbursements, and conduct an annual inventory of all assets. WWAS must also comply with state and federal filing requirements on a timely basis, and must file amended returns for prior years as necessary. The report recommends WWAS suspend all non-essential spending until reliable financial statements, prepared by a qualified Treasurer or independent accountant, are provided. Further recommendations include on-going board training and officer development.
WWAS members have demonstrated a long-standing commitment to the organization and the important ambulance services it provides to the community. Attention to the issues surrounding board management and non-profit governance, as set forth in the report, should assist the WWAS in continuing to operate as a viable non-profit entity.
A copy of the report can be found on the Department of Justice's website at http://doj.nh.gov/charitable-trusts/publications.htm.
New Hampshire Department of Justice | 33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301