As the past president of a non-profit organization, I have nothing but respect for the work they do, so when I saw that our commissioners introduced an ordinance to dissolve the Nutley Volunteer Rescue Squad I was immediately concerned and curious as to why they would do such a thing, especially at a time when we are fighting COVID-19.
They obviously must have known that it would cause an uproar in town, as everyone I know respects and appreciates the work that they do. So why do it?
I immediately tried to learn more as to the structure, bylaws and parties involved. I read the comments on social media but the vast majority of them were knee jerk reactions to the ordinance with very little facts being presented.
I was able to read the administrative legislation that Nutley passed regarding the Rescue Squad that someone posted up that I found informative however that only told one side of the story.
So I reached out to the squad to request a copy of their Bylaws and articles of incorporation to better understand their mission statement and also their governance. Most 501c3’s post these on their website or are happy to provide them to anyone who asks, even though they are not required to, as it provides transparency and confidence to their supporters.
However, I was flat out denied access to them from the president of NVERS much to my disappointment.
I then asked for form 1023 which is the Application for Recognition of Exemption Under 501 of the Internal Revenue Code. It is filed by nonprofits to get exemption status. Organizations must attach copies of both their articles of incorporation and bylaws to this document, and they are required by law to provide copies of Form 1023 to anyone who asks them. In fact, IRS regulations require that certain documents, Form 1023 among them, "be provided immediately in the case of in-person requests and within 30 days in the case of written requests." If they do not they are subject to a $5000 fine per incident. The president responded that he would forward it to the legal team for consideration within 30 days.
Why would any 501c3 not want to share these documents especially with an ordinance to dissolve their agency hanging over them?
As a supporter of NVERS it leaves me unable to offer assistance and wondering what do they have to hide.