Knoxville Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad faces an expensive audit following a request from Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero to respond to charges raised in an anonymous letter. The letter was sent to both the city and county mayors, the state comptroller and several news outlets, addressed to “anyone who may be able to help.”
The letter said Rescue Squad funds had been used to equip an officer’s county vehicle, among other charges. Rogero’s request was discussed at the squad’s board of directors meeting this week.
Board members Van T. Elkins and R.E. Foust, both certified public accountants, are familiar with the nonprofit’s finances. Foust said an audit could cost up to $30,000, and “the first one will be painful” because of the squad’s vast equipment inventory. Elkins said a less costly alternative could be an agreed-upon procedures review.
The Rescue Squad receives funding from business and individual donations, city and county governments, United Way and Rural Metro. It operates four stations with crews available 24-7 to assist in emergencies, including water rescues.
Board member R. Larry Smith said afterwards that he’s impressed with the professionalism of the squad’s leadership. “And you know, I’ve served on a lot of boards.” He cited Chief Russ Frazier and his wife, Kim, who serves as secretary of the board, as strong leaders, eager to open the squad to new ideas and people.
No one at the January board meeting spoke in support of the letter. Board chair Ken Cassell will name a committee to make a recommendation on a possible audit at the March meeting.
Cassell listed his five goals for the organization: increase donations; increase emphasis on specialty teams; improve quality and depth of the board by adding diversity and expertise; increase recruitment of volunteers; and increase the leadership depth of the organization.
Cassell introduced Julie Greene as the squad’s new community outreach coordinator and Charlotte McLawhorn as an administrative assistant for finance. David Harrington is the new Heavy Rescue Team captain.
The board’s next scheduled meeting will be 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 28, at Maple Street Biscuit Company, 10837 Hardin Valley Road.