Nashua police charity procedures questionedBy NANCY WEST
New Hampshire Sunday News
June 22. 2013 10:21PM
Nashua's police chief asked the state Attorney General's Office to audit the Nashua Police Relief Association after finding out the nonprofit paid Deputy Police Chief Scott Howe to clean the building it owns on Kinsley Street.
Chief John Seusing said the relief association, which is affiliated with the police department, paid Howe using a Visa debit card instead of a check.
He wouldn't say how much the deputy chief was paid, and Howe could not be reached on Thursday for comment.
"There were some concerns brought to my attention regarding the governance of (the association) and its internal procedures, whether they have been followed correctly," Seusing said.
One was the issue of paying Howe with a debit card to clean the building it purchased for use by Nashua police members. Seusing said Howe earns upwards of $115,000 a year.
"I asked (the Charitable Trusts Unit) if they would do an audit of the practices of the relief association," Seusing said. "It's more of an audit or review, not an investigation, but making sure the board members and executive board were following the guidelines they needed to as a nonprofit."
Seusing, who is also a dues-paying member, said questions arose when the relief association mentioned raising dues, which are about $2.50 a week.
Some members began asking questions of the association, he said.
"I don't think people got the information as quickly as they wanted," Seusing said. "I wanted to make sure everyone had full confidence in the association and board members."
The association is open to Nashua police to provide relief to members and their families during a crisis, to buy watches for members when they retire, and to provide a small life insurance policy, he said.
Anthony I. Blenkinsop, director of the Charitable Trusts Unit, said he recently sent a request to the association for "some information based on a communication to the Charitable Trusts Unit from the police chief in Nashua.
"I have not received a response as of yet, but had provided them until mid-April to respond."
Blenkinsop said he couldn't add anything further "based on the ongoing nature of the inquiry."
Nashua Police Capt. Scott Hammond is listed as president of the relief association on the police department's website, but said on Thursday that he recently stepped down.
"From our standpoint, there is nothing here," Hammond said. "The chief is the only one who can speak to it. I'm not in a position to answer anything."
The association's two-story building is also used for social functions, or by officers on duty if they want to stop for lunch, Seusing said.
"It certainly is affiliated with the police department. It is not a union entity," Seusing said.