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Chelmsford Ambulance Study Committee - News Article

Chelmsford Ambulance Study Committee - News Article

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Published by Brian Giovanoni

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Published by: Brian Giovanoni on Aug 11, 2011
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08/11/2011

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Disagreements at ambulance study committee
By Andy Metzger/Staff WriterWed Dec 05, 2007, 02:42 PM EST
CHELMSFORD - In their inaugural meeting, members of the ad hoc Ambulance Study Committee found plentyto disagree about, including why the town had assembled them to begin with.The Board of Selectmen appointed the nine-member committee to recommend whether the Fire Departmentshould take over some, all, or none of the town’s emergency ambulance service, from the current provider TrinityEMS.Selectman Chairman Sam Chase asked the committee to make a recommendation by early April.But before getting close to that decision, the committee members had to set their priorities.“Is public safety paramount, or is making more money for the town paramount?” asked member John Fleming.“It’s very hard to determine which one comes first.”The answer to that question proved vexing for the committee.“The first priority is public safety,” said Steve Normandin, a member of the committee.If the committee determines the Fire Department can do the job just as well, or better than Trinity, then everyonecan start looking at what that would mean for the town’s bottom line, Normandin said.But not everyone followed that line of reasoning.“(Chase’s) focus was the financial aspect of it, and then he mentioned public safety,” said committee memberJack Stansfield.For committee member John Demers, that raised the question of why the group had gathered in the first place.“Was this driven to generate revenue first, or was this driven because we have an issue with our currentservices?” Demers said.Chairman John Thibault said the committee should decide on what level of ambulance service the town shouldhave, and go from there.When committee members moved on to discuss whom they should invite to future meetings, they ran intoanother debate.“I would ask that we hold off on inviting the (fire fighters) union. The union is coming in to create more jobs,”said Demers.Committee member Sean Dean and Thibault argued to have a more welcoming policy.“To exclude one instead of the other. I don’t think we should,” Thibault said.But despite their initial disagreements, severalmembers hope the committee will eventually speak with one

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