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Township Council Approves Kennedy for EMS

The agreement, which will not cost Gloucester Township a dime, according to officials, runs through Dec. 31.

Township Council on Monday night unanimously approved a resolution naming Kennedy Health System as emergency-medical services (EMS) provider through the end of the year.

The move came just six days after the township ended its relationship with Gloucester Township EMS Alliance—a move that has EMS Alliance employees and their supporters calling dirty politics on the Mayer administration.

It came about 80 minutes after a last-ditch attempt by longtime EMS Alliance Chief Tom Eden Sr. to spare his employees their jobs by resigning his post.

"At this time, for the best of the residents of Gloucester Township and the best of my 45 employees, I ask you to reconsider your actions tonight you're going to take," Eden told Council. "You've had me investigated. You've had me arrested (in October 2010, on the charge of driving under the influence)—all on hearsay. There is no evidence of any wrongdoing. I'm just being personally persecuted, and I feel that you guys are going to allow that to happen, so therefore I resign my position as chief of Gloucester Township EMS."

Eden placed his chief's badge on the podium in Council chambers as he addressed the governing body.

The gesture apparently didn't impress Council.

"Mr. Eden, I feel bad for your employees. I feel you let them down and you disappointed them," Councilwoman Michelle Gentek said.

Many attendees spoke out against Mayor David Mayer's decision to banish Gloucester Township EMS Alliance following the discovery last Tuesday morning during a surprise inspection by state Department of Health-Office of Emergency Medical Services officials and township police that five ambulances and an SUV were not registered, with two also uninspected.

"This is a good company. You have a bunch fo great EMTs here," said Paul Loudner, a Pitman resident who has worked at EMS Alliance for a year and a half. "This is disgusting. The political crap—it needs to stop."

Mayer countered Eden's assertion the decision to end the township's relationship with GT EMS Alliance was about politics—a claim echoed by Republicans and other EMS Alliance supporters—or a "personality conflict" between Police Chief W. Harry Earle and Eden, as EMS Alliance attorney John Carney stated.

"It's easy to say that it's politics. Desperate people say desperate things. We have continued to stick to the facts. I have received exactly what I have said I received (from GT EMS Alliance). This is not about politics. It's about providing emergency-medical services to the people of Gloucester Township," he said. "When I put my head on the pillow every night, I want to be assured that the residents of this community are getting the best possible care. I was not assured of that with my dealings with the leadership of the EMS Alliance."

Kennedy Health System will have two staffed ambulances in the township 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with a third ambulance in town between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. each day under the tentative agreement approved by Council Monday night.

Those ambulances will be based at Chews Landing and Erial fire stations, Solicitor David Carlamere said.

Kennedy will not charge the township to provide EMS services, but will instead bill patients it treats and transports, as did EMS Alliance.

The township later this year will solicit proposals for emergency-medical services beginning in January 2013, officials said.

Monday's special meeting brought out a large crowd to Council chambers, the seats of which were about three-quarters filled.

Longtime EMS Alliance employee Linda Willis presented Council with a petition signed by 300 people asking that EMS Alliance be kept on as the township's ambulance service.

Rachel Long, who has been with EMS Alliance for 10 years, was emotional in pleading for Council to stick with her employer.

"This was my only source of income. I am now losing my apartment because of it," she said. "But I am not only losing my job. This was my home. ...This is not just a job for me. This is what I love to do."

Earle provided Council with an extensive report on violations found by state health officials at EMS Alliance's Erial station house last Tuesday—an inspection that resulted in the EMS Alliance being shut down.

The police chief indicated a total of three EMS Alliance employees—one current employee and two former employees—came forward to police over a roughly 18-month investigation to express "their concerns of ineffective leadership, drug abuse, and misuse of funds."

(Editor's Note: Click on the PDF above to view Earle's report to Council in its entirety.)

"It is important to know that much of the information provided by the EMS employees to the Gloucester Township Police Professional Standards Bureau were only allegations," Earle told Council. "The accuracy of some of the information could not be proven or disproven, as the EMS Alliance simply refused to provide the requested documentation despite requests for such information for well more than a year."

"Although I am aware that the EMS Alliance has employees who are competent emergency-medical professionals, the actions—or in some cases, inaction—of their leadership—both their board and their senior leadership—has caused me to fear for the safety of the residents of Gloucester Township," Earle added.

Mayer noted Business Administrator Tom Cardis has been talking with Kennedy officials since last week about bringing on EMS Alliance personnel. As of 4 p.m. Monday, Mayer said, two now-former EMS Alliance employees had signed on with Kennedy, with seven of 25 applicants already having interviews with the health system.

Several opponents of the move contended that because GT EMS Alliance has for more than a decade provided a valuable service to the community, it deserved further consideration.

"As I've heard, no one's had a complaint about the actual operational service of the organization. It's been more housekeeping items, important as they are," Glendora resident Jeff Booker said about 20 minutes before Council President Glen Bianchini declared an end to what amounted to an hour-and-a-half public comment period on the EMS issue. "But they've been doing a good job. They've been doing a great job. And not to be given the courtesy of consideration, to me, is absurd."

Carney also indicated Kennedy ambulances' average response time over the less than six days in operation in Gloucester Township has been double that established by the Erial-based operation.

Several township officials, including Bianchini, took issue with Booker, Carney and others referring to the violations uncovered during last week's inspection as "housekeeping" items.

"Not having oxygen (on ambulances), not having proper supplies, having outdated medications—that is entirely not proper in the health-care field at all," Bianchini said. "To say that that is 'housekeeping' is really not proper in its own right."

Following the meeting, Eden said he told his employees at a meeting last Thursday night "to go to Kennedy."

"I don't want to see nobody out of work," he said. "That's not what I'm about. I put my heart and soul into this."

Eden maintained EMS Alliance is no longer in business due to "backdoor politics."

"There's going to be a lot more to come to this than what you've just seen in there," he said. "You've seen nothing but allegations in there."

Carlamere noted Kennedy Health System has not yet forwarded the contract to the township, adding "when the agreement comes in as we negotiated, then it will be signed in that fashion."

Lovelivingingt July 03, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Blah, Blah, Blah , Blah...The government is so bad!! People have not been happy with the government of GT for.........ever! Maybe you should run fro office Big Daddy 1???
@xxLouA July 03, 2012 at 06:53 PM
why are you attempting to DOWN Cooper???? Just curious that's all.... If you don't like what's there get them all out...Vote..... thanks
Paul J. DiBartolo July 03, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Where I work 'Caps Lock' is perceived as yelling and is essentially forbidden. That said, my comment was sarcasm and I would have expected someone with your command of the blogosphere to get that. Oh well... Anyway, those of us, and there are many, who don't like some of the things we see going on in GT have every right to voice our opinions on such and essentially inform those who disagree to 'shut up,' right? That's where we're going with this, right? I realize it's much easier to say "Love it, to Leave it," than it is to actually debate your points and explain your reasoning; I prefer the other options. I also find it interesting that you think you have the right to tell others with whom you disagree to leave but then you won't even identify yourself, choosing instead to hide behind a pseudonym. That's rich.
Lovelivingingt July 03, 2012 at 08:23 PM
LOL!!!! OK, if the entire paragraph was in caps I would agree it's yelling, but not just a few of my words. Actually, I don't have the right to tell anyone what to do. I was simply voicing my opinion, which I believe I should be allowed to do, just like you do. You'd have to agree, that there are just as many people who agree with the decisions made on this topic as there are against? Why is it only the people who are against only voice their concern. Every time I post an opposing view, I get slammed that I am wrong and don't know what I am talking about. Who knows, maybe I am for the current regime, or maybe I just like stirring the pot to get a good debate going. One will never know. As for my real name, I prefer to stay anonymous. Isn't that the beauty of the internet?
Big Daddy 1 July 03, 2012 at 09:56 PM
I am downing Norcross because he determines our government for the most part. He chooses the Dems. and gets them money to win. I think the money was 7:1 last November. In return, Dems. give him all their government business in insurance, self insurance, and probably Cooper hospital. Norcross owns or runs those firms. If they go up for bid at all, the bids are rigged in his favor at higher cost to us. So it is easier said than done. It's hard to vote someone out when the other side has all the money.
Big Daddy 1 July 03, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Since someone says there are as many for our government as against, why don't we put this issue to vote. Just like our government is allowing pay to play to go up for vote (haha). Maybe Patch could take a poll on these and other issues.
Joe Kearney July 03, 2012 at 11:41 PM
I truly understand the employees are upset with the GT Government but I think they need to take a good hard look at the people responsible for them losing their jobs. Things were not being done right thats the bottom line. They may seem like small things but add them up they are pretty big. Take this time now to improve your leadership and make things right. Like I have said before GT/EMS I am forever grateful for the way you have treated my Father, Mother, and Grand Parents every time you transported them. It is a good feeling to see a face you now at the door in a time of emergency. I wish each and everyone of you guys the best of luck! Joe Kearney Glendora!
Big Daddy 1 July 04, 2012 at 12:00 AM
I still remember waiting forever for the old Erial Ambulance to show up. They didn't. West Jersey finally sent one. I am not hearing any complaints about service. And the guy at the top offered to resign. Are any of us in the same financial position we were in in the 90's. Mayer came in and raised all our taxes. Did Mayer fire himself and all of Council? Nope. This was always real simple - the problems were solved. Firing 45 innocent people in favor of less service from out of town is worthy of firing Mayer and Council. That is just another in a long line of increasingly unconsionable acts. If we have to do pay to play petitions over again, let's recall all of them too.
Kelli July 04, 2012 at 02:22 AM
I wish all the E.M.T.'s the best of luck, they do a great job out in the field . Their boss, Mr. Eden and his mgt. team caused them allot of heartache and personal problems. Mr. Eden is solely responsible for their troubles and no one else. I watched the video from Fox News and Mr. Eden's interview, the second sentence out of his mouth was , it's political. That's where the firestorm started bringing politics into it. Nest comes along Mr. Berry jumping on the bandwagon with his own personal political agenda. Then residents get these fliers on their cars all over Twp. creating panic, asking them to sign the petition. Duh, Berry strikes again. another illegal petition. Now the EMT's that got fired putting their blind faith in a political hack that has possible indictments handed down to him over the last petition, PTP. Mr. Berry seized the moment for his own political agenda, and this time used the poor EMT's who just lost their jobs. Yes Mr. Berry, you took advantage of the very people who go out and save lives for your own 3 minutes of fame. Shame on you! Oh, Ray, your no better, run to the T.V. people and fuel the fire, shame on you also! Then low and behold, after listening to the rest of the story, the true story, not the one you guys spun, the ah ha factor comes in. Now you have a group of workers that just lost their jobs all fired up at Council, Mr. I gave it my heart and soul Eden sat there all smug with the appearance of being stoned.How does he sleep at night?
Paul J. DiBartolo July 04, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Good idea, Lovelivingingt, unfortunately, BigDaddy has no township contract recipients to donate to his campaign coffers. David Mayer stated the reason he needed campaign contributions from contract recipients was to run his election campaigns. Bottom line, he refuses to support Pay-to-Play because he would lose his campaign contribution base. Get a clue, Lovelivingingt.
Paul J. DiBartolo July 04, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Kelli, for goodness sake, try to remain coherent. Regardless of whether you actually read what other posters who respond to you write, there are those of us out here that do actually read what you write, whether we agree or not, but your rambling makes it almost impossible to understand you.
Kelli July 04, 2012 at 02:57 AM
May 11,2011 PSB launched a investigation. 36 thousand dollars in gas?? for answering 19 calls? Where were the calls from? Alaska? EMS Alliance were called 111 times but only ans.19 of them? between Jan. 1st and June 23 2012. Missing quarterly reports, Eden had a year and a half to find them, if he had them. No, Medical Director? What? for years? Are you kidding me? Out dated drugs on board the rig? no emergency plan for the parade? Bio Hazard material in patient transport area? I pray to God, the EMT's did hand over their re-cert for CPR, and Eden just couldn't find them. maybe they are behind the empty oxygen bottles on the rig. Read the report folks and ask yourself the big question, would you want your child's life to depend on the likes of Eden and his mgt. team? All in all, Mr. Eden, Berry and Polidoro deserve each other, and that's all they deserve for the stunt they pulled last night. Hopefully, the EMT Alliance will get much better mgt. a good Chief, who does really care about his employees, and the EMT's will be back to work, with better working conditions. The Mayor Chief and Council are responsible for the safety of the residents, just imagine if they didn't act responsible and shut it down,and something did happen to a pt. due to neglect, imagine how Berry and Co. would spin it..Oh, they would be calling for the Mayor's resignation, stating it was his responsibility to shut it down.
Big Daddy 1 July 04, 2012 at 04:05 AM
Is there a report supporting what Kelli is alleging? How do we see it?
Kelli July 04, 2012 at 04:16 AM
I am not alleging, I gave my opinion and the facts are in the report at the top of this article in PDF form, under the small pictures.
Lovelivingingt July 04, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Kelli - You're my hero! Finally someone else who actually read the report and commented on the facts. I made this comment on another story and everyone bashed me: "Lovelivingingt 3:37 pm on Thursday, June 28, 2012 I am not connected or even remotely involved in politics. I am not on the Mayors side. I just cant stand it when everyone is automatically against the government. We elected him and were supposed to stand behind him. People are never happy with anyone that is in office. It's easy and convenient to blame the local government but the fact of the matter is that the trucks were unregistered and that is a violation. Should we give them back the business now that they are registered? I'm not sure. If they are willing to continue to provide service with unregistered and un-inspected vehicles, whats to stop them from cutting back on other things? EMT certifications? Driver with not so perfect driving records because it saves money?" And low and behold when the real story came out, it wasn't just the registration and inspections but a slew of other things. Mr. Eden Sr. obviously wasn't running things properly and was only interested in his pocket and the pockets of his "board" (I guess we should change the definition of board to be "a group of your buddies that will let you do whatever you want because you line their pockets"). I am in no way saying that politicians don't do that same but lets call it what it is. Like my friend Paul says, smoke and mirrors.
steven stevenson July 04, 2012 at 11:58 AM
They weren't that great of EMT's anyway, I had my anther call for EMS, and they walked him down 4 flights of states, and into the ambulance 500 ft away, no jump bag, no stretcher, and no stair chair. They were lackadaisical, and only provided him a $800 taxi ride.
Voice of Reason July 04, 2012 at 12:03 PM
I think the 36K in gas was for the whole organization. In the report the 111 calls referred to volunteer incidents where the first 2 to 3 ambulances were already on runs. The group as whole was answering somewhere over 6000 calls in total, primarily with 2 to 3 paid ambulances
Voice of Reason July 04, 2012 at 12:07 PM
I've worked on a number of occasions with EMS and found their on street performance to be just fine and consistent with what I have seen from other EMS service. Steven, when people get walked to the ambulance it is usually a sign they didn't need an ambulance in the first place.
Paul J. DiBartolo July 04, 2012 at 01:05 PM
Now, wait just one minute, Voice of Reason, there is not need to muddle things up with facts. There will be none of that around here if we can help it. "He that first states his own cause seemeth just, but then his neighbor cometh and searcheth him" (Proverbs 18.17 - NKJ-Version). (I will gladly interpret this if anyone fails to see the connection.)
OCNJ July 04, 2012 at 01:22 PM
Interesting choice. No need to interpret, but who are you saying is the "first" and who is the "neighbor?"
OCNJ July 04, 2012 at 01:25 PM
You did not see the attached report with this information and continue comment? Acts without facts philosophy?
Kelli July 04, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Paul, I knew it wouldn't take long for you to throw me a insult. But that's ok the readers know that whenever you don't agree with someone your narcissistic nature takes over. I just stated facts from the report and my opinion of the whole incident of how your Political hack buddies jump to attack without knowing the all the facts. They used scare tactics to gain votes but the only thing they gained were victims. The only incoherent rambling I witnessed was Mr. Eden at the mic playing to Fox News. So Paul, defend Eden if you want, the facts speak for themselves. The readers expect you to lash out at everyone who doesn't agree with you. Remember, the pen is mightier than the sword, I hope you don't fall on your pen. Have a Happy July 4th and try not to bore people with your know it all attitude, it's unbecoming of a Gentleman.
Paul J. DiBartolo July 04, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Were you at the meeting or did you watch the video? The word neighbor in the proverb is a reference to anybody that is at odds with the first individual. You do understand the use of the word 'neighbor' in the Bible, right? The first? Well, gee, I thought that was self-explanatory. Let's say in a trial that the prosecutor makes his opening statement ('first') and then the trial ends and goes to jury deliberation. What do you think the outcome of that would be? His argument sounds quite convincing when nobody has adequate time or resources to refute it. On the other hand, allow the defense attorney to make his opening statement, as well; now we have a completely different ballgame. I don't necessarily question the veracity of Chief Earle but he presented a carefully worded report that obviously took some time to prepare. No one that had questions about the situation really had any time or resources to refute what he said. Then the FOP rep denigrated anybody who thought to challenge anything in the chief's lengthy report...as if we were under some obligation to see the situation through the FOP rep's eyes or we were know-nothings with an agenda. Quite presumptuous on his part, if I may say so. All in all, the whole proceeding left a bad taste in the mouth and the final awarding of the contract at year's end will be quite revealing as to if there was any chicanery involved. Why is it when citizens speak and ask questions they are usually met by zombie stares and silence?
Paul J. DiBartolo July 04, 2012 at 02:37 PM
You know the facts! Do you mean you know what the report says because you read it? There could be a big difference between the two. I really don't know but would like to know. As for Eden, I don't know the man nor am I defending him. I'm just a concerned citizen with questions about how the whole affair was handled. For your information, besides employees of the EMS Alliance, there were actual, unconnected citizens that had questions about the situation, as well. Do they count for anything? Was the President of Council within his rights to kill the public portion of the meeting? I'm not sure but somebody didn't think so. Finally, to the so-called facts. $36,000 for gasoline. That we know but we really know nothing else about the situation. Then you state for 19 calls. Somebody refuted your facts on that; will you respond? And then we heard that we were going to save money by using Kennedy. Why is it when questions were asked they were responded to with canned responses of information already reported? If you were there, you would have heard the undertone of "Just answer the question." I don't think anybody could question that council's minds were already made up and no real deliberation was any part of that meeting.
Darren Gladden July 06, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Well I was at the meeting and I must say that the mayor had ever right to question the leadership of GTEMS and the way it was ran.. Now as a person who live's in the TOWNSHIP I have ever right to question my LEADERS in this town on WHY they do what they do and the way they do things . I have been going to council meeting for over a year now and have been asking the MAYOR and his crew to answer questions and 95% of the time all they do is look at you like you have 8 heads . Hey I know I'm a little hard on da EYES but all I want is ANSWERS from our GOVERNMENT.......... Look why not put Pay to play on the ballot and let us VOTERS vote on it . Why did you put 45 people out of work and why did they go with Kennedy . Why does our STREETS have a ton of POTHOLES . Why do our Police Department still have cops Racial Profiling . Why do we have a tons of Bussiness Boarded up . What does Community Development and planning do .Why do they push up on Bussiness owners and make them leave and we would also like them to STATE the truth and stop with the LIES . Please tell us the real reason you put the Red light cameras UP . Tell us the real reason there no AIR quality reports done in OUR kids Schools . ................What I am really trying to say is STOP with all the BS and kid games and Just care cause I do .....Peace out and have a great weekend Patch peeps enjoy the tune ......... http://youtu.be/BWf-eARnf6U
Big Daddy 1 July 06, 2012 at 06:04 PM
I agree with Darren. Let's have a meeting where they answer on the subjects we ask about, as opposed to only talking about the subjects they want to talk about.
Big Daddy 1 July 06, 2012 at 06:07 PM
I agree with Darren. Let's have a meeting where our government discusses the questions we raise rather than just talking about subjects of their own choosing.
Sorrytoknow u July 06, 2012 at 08:11 PM
JA aka Dave aka lovelivingingt- there were no unlicensed EMT's- you were a big character at GTEMS one time guess you are talking about yourself when you say drug addicts, alcoholic- you are right there-guess you saw your own reflection when you said this!!! Guess that is why your sorry $$$ got FIRED!!! HMMMM
Paul J. DiBartolo July 06, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Lovelivingingt - Clueless about what's going on and loving it...priceless!
Alex B July 10, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Kelli...you really think they said $36,000.00 for 19 calls..The 19 calls talked about were totally diff...That much for fuel was for the calls of the whole year. The 19 calls were unrelated volunteer calls. Some of your statements you made seems that you really don't have a clue about the situtation, well only the facts you want to know about and your another one that wants to blame a single person..lol

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