Many questions yet to be answered
I left the EMS “workshop” on April 14 feeling a bit confused. Town Council President Mike Schnack said it was a workshop and no decisions were going to be made regarding JEMS. But considering the memorandum of understanding between the town and JEMS was not renewed — just extended until June — and a transition team is in place to meld JEMS into the Fire Department, what other decisions was he referring to?
It very well could be that to join these two incredible organizations is best for the town. But the way this merger has been handled by our town administrator is regrettable. It was noted at the meeting that communication problems have existed between the two organizations for three years. I actually met with our administrator over a year ago when I became aware of some issues between the organizations. At that time he told me he was getting quotes from MedTec, a paid organization, to possibly replace our volunteer medical services.
The problems he mentioned at that meeting did not seem to warrant eliminating the JEMS group. It seemed that with proper leadership from the town, these problems could have been resolved and the groups could have become stronger. Perhaps with a more congenial environment and proper direction, the Fire Department and JEMS would have merged naturally or coexisted as originally planned.
Another workshop is needed so the community can understand how the merger will take place, if indeed that is what is happening. Who will be in charge of the merger? What will the new group be called? Will the Fire Department have to stand shifts to cover EMS runs? Who will be in charge of the EMS division? Who will hire that person? How much will that position cost? Will it be full or part time? How will taxpayer money be allocated? How will the Fire Department and JEMS endowments get sorted out? What will the net savings or added costs be to the town? Will there be a loss of EMS personnel? Will both buildings be utilized? Will we need new uniforms? Who will resolve future conflicts within the merged organizations? Etc., etc.