[MSAR] Organization structure
una at lanl.gov
Tue Mar 9 10:57:10 EST 2004
Lois Guyon wrote:
>We have the blessing of the County Sheriff and wear uniforms that
>identify ourselves as a sheriff's group. However, we are not funded
>by the sheriff's office although the group coordinator is a deputy
Welcome to the club. You are in good company. How about talking
to other SAR units in your county and the surrounding area. Their
officers can give you a clearer picture of the specific political
and other institutional dynamics you can expect to deal with.
>We are considering having a free--standing non-profit structure.
Good idea. Consider which type, though. Your organization could be
recognized by the IRS under IRC sections 501(c)(3) Charitable Orgs,
501(c)(4) Social Welfare Orgs, or 501(c)(7) Social Clubs. A helpful
website is http://www.irs.gov/charities/index.html. I know of MSAR
teams recognized under all three sections. Your best bet is probably
501(c)(3); it usually allows you the most financial advantages.
However, your unit's circumstances (in particular its likely sources
of income) may make one of the other sections more attractive.
>The discussion about liability and insurance makes me question how
>we should be structured.
I don't see any direct connection between organizational structure
and risk management. Organizational structure does have a direct
connection to your ability to obtain funding, how readily you will
be accepted as a legitimate SAR resource, and by what means you will
be called out. But here again you may get more pertinent advice
from the established SAR units in your area.
>I would like to see an organization chart showing the relationship
>of your MSAR group to other groups and agencies in your community.
There are org charts for New Mexico SAR (http://www.dps.nm.org/sar/),
both administrative and operational. Some New Mexico SAR units
(called "teams" on the website) are also affiliated with county
sheriff's offices or other institutions (local colleges, Civil Air
Santa Fe County Sheriff's Posse was incorporated in 1941, and until
the 1980's we were very closely affiliated with the county sheriff's
office. At times we were sworn volunteer deputies (not my idea of a
good thing). Enactment of the New Mexico SAR Act in the late 1970's,
followed by development of the NM SAR Plan in the early 1980's moved
authority for SAR in New Mexico from county sheriff's offices to the
state. This increased friction between us and our county sheriff at
the time (who was prone to friction), and eventually resulted in the
sheriff "dismissing" us from his service. Which was trivial to do,
because in fact there was no relationship other than an understanding
and some lines in our by-laws about our chain of command.
Santa Fe County Sheriff's Posse, in New Mexico
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