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Disagreements at ambulance study committee


By Andy Metzger/Staff Writer Wed Dec 05, 2007, 02:42 PM EST CHELMSFORD - In their inaugural meeting, members of the ad hoc Ambulance Study Committee found plenty to 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 Department should take over some, all, or none of the towns emergency ambulance service, from the current provider Trinity EMS. 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. Its 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 everyone can start looking at what that would mean for the towns bottom line, Normandin said. But not everyone followed that line of reasoning. (Chases) focus was the financial aspect of it, and then he mentioned public safety, said committee member Jack 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 current services? Demers said. Chairman John Thibault said the committee should decide on what level of ambulance service the town should have, and go from there. When committee members moved on to discuss whom they should invite to future meetings, they ran into another 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 dont think we should, Thibault said. But despite their initial disagreements, several members hope the committee will eventually speak with one

voice. If we dont have some kind of consensus, what value is it? said Normandin. With nine people, I think that will be a real challenge, said Thibault.
Staff Writer Andy Metzger can be reached at 978-371-5745 or at ametzger@cnc.com.

Comments (2) Anna 2007-12-09T04:00:29 Report Abuse Twice now i have seen the ambulance speeding down the road only to turn around and have to come back becuase they missed the road. Once the ambulance driver had done two u turns on Chelmsford St. I believe they finally went down the Radisson drive way. I'd have to say that if we can't have our own ambulance service could we have drivers that kind of know the roads in Chelmsford. big price tag 2007-12-09T13:09:32 Report Abuse To address Anna's concern, maybe we could ask Trinity to give their drivers GPS to find the addresses easier. The cost is about $140.00. The cost of a town firefighter is about $35,000. not including pension and all the added benefits. Our town is in trouble finacially adding more employees to the payroll is out of the question. Leave a Comment:

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