NUTLEY, NJ - As the tension between the Township of Nutley Department of Public Safety and the Nutley Volunteer Emergency and Rescue Squad continues, commissioner Alphonse Petracco released the following public statement on July 23, 2020:
As many of you know, there was an ordinance introduced this week “dissolving’ the Nutley Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad. There is a lot of speculation and innuendo being circulated on social media that needs to be addressed. Here are facts that the public needs to know:
1. The Nutley “Volunteer” Emergency Rescue Squad is no longer comprised of only volunteers, in fact, paid personnel work Mondays through Fridays, 6 am to 6 pm and cover all weekend hours. Our volunteers work weeknights from 6 pm to 6 am. The shift to more paid personnel is a trend seen throughout the state and country as people are no longer able to volunteer as freely as in the past. Nonetheless, the volunteers represent an important and extremely valued part of the Squad make-up and I tremendously appreciate and respect their service.
2. It should be noted that the move to dissolve has nothing to do with the per diems, volunteers, past members or founding members of the squad, all of whom are respected and valued for their service and commitment to Nutley. It is the President (who, incidentally, is not a Nutley resident and never has been) and executive team who have said publically they are unwilling to cooperate as they are independent and are not under the umbrella of the town. Township Ordinance 60.1 clearly states they are under the Township domain, specifically, under my direction as the Director of the Department of Public Safety.
3. Several concerning legal matters and allegations involving NVERS were recently brought to my attention raising questions about the organization's operations, including employee conduct issues and a wrongful termination lawsuit against the squad that ended with the Squad being liable. And, in regard to legal representation, Alan Genitempo, our Township attorney, has always been readily available to assist in any legal matter involving the squad. Unbeknown to us, the Squad hired an outside legal team to represent them at an additional cost to their operating expenses. It is a expense that could be covered by the town.
4. In a review of some of the financial documents that were received, several entries and expenditures were worthy of a closer look, hence the request for further documentation. With revenues of approximately $800,000, mostly from billing, it is my duty and obligation to the residents of Nutley to ensure that this organization, which runs like a business, wisely and appropriately manages their budget. This will only ensure that Nutley residents continue to receive the best possible emergency medical services available.
As a lifelong resident and business owner in town, I care about this town and its residents. I am a firm believer in strong family values and traditions. I truly believe that the Nutley Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad is a Nutley tradition that should remain intact forever. I am looking to make sure this happens with or without the cooperation of the current Executive Board. Now that some of the honest facts have been shared, I am urging all Nutley residents to join me in saving the squad and insist that the President and his executive team be forthcoming and transparent with all the documents requested. I look forward to continuing to honor our forefathers and founders by maintaining the honorable and dedicated service of the Nutley Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad.
TAPinto Nutley will continue to cover this matter.
Since 2016, TAPintoNutley.net has been the only locally owned news organization serving the Township of Nutley, and is a member of the New Jersey Press Association. The Nutley Board of Commissioners first named TAPintoNutley.net the township's 'Official Electronic News Source' in 2019.