To The Daily Sun,
At this past Monday’s City Council Meeting, I discovered the people of Laconia were denied public access to information on a vital subject. That of the ambulance contract for the City.
There was a short announcement from the city manager that the Brewster Ambulance Service was withdrawing its bid. No discussion on the matter. At the end of the meeting during councilor comments, several of the councilors present made strong statements of disappointment and disapproval. To a man they were in favor of this company getting the contract.
After receiving four proposals, the committee considering this subject decided on Brewster and had them in for a presentation and questioning. It was decided to present this company to the entire council as the best choice for the city.
My problem and yours should be that while the Fire Department had information out there and councilors were bombarded with letters from Fire Department supporters who, absent having all the facts, some could only base their support on rumors or an incomplete picture, we never heard from the other side.
After some research I now know more about this company, which I will share with you further down. My point now is that the least we could have done and could still do is hear that presentation in a public hearing.
We have public hearings on dog parks, one-side parking, saving maple trees, etc. Should we not have a public hearing on something that involves the very safety of every person in the city and also at the same time cut costs to an ever growing budget and increased burden on the taxpayer.
Now, some facts about Brewster Ambulance Service.
They are a leading service in Massachusetts and Rhode Island and are now expanding their operation into New Hampshire. They have been in this family owned business since 1906. They serve 32 different hospitals and services — approximately 70 percent of Boston’s needs. They have contracts with the cities of Middleboro, Plymouth, Braintree, Brockton, Quincy, and Taunton, as well several of the largest hospitals in the Boston area.
Several fire chiefs from these cities were interviewed by the committee and they received glowing reports from them.
They will offer not only what we are now getting but more. They will provide the necessary vehicles, brand new, garage them in their own building in Laconia, and staff 21/7 with no charge to the city. All their employees staffing two brand new ambulances at all times will be (1) paramedic and (1) advanced EMT. They will maintain one back-up Class 1 type ambulance staffed with one paramedic and one advanced EMT at all times.
They will receive no money from the City. No guarantees.
They have also agreed to retain any existing clinical staff currently working in the system who wish to remain(at the fire chief’s discretion) and are in good standing with the city and meet all the qualifications outlined.
They have many outreach programs for the public, constant training and upgrading of equipment.
There is so much more and all the technical stuff regarding equipment and certification, training, maintenance, etc.but that should be forthcoming from those with all this information.
What the public needs is information from all sides.
I will not make judgements or arguments against either. Just let the public know what the whole story is.