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Republicans Rip Mayor Over EMS Decision

The Gloucester Township EMS Alliance chief says the state has cleared all ambulances to return to service.

Gloucester Township Republicans are none too happy with Mayor David Mayer for severing the township's relationship with non-profit Gloucester Township EMS Alliance.

GOP leaders are also concerned about what the decision could mean for the future of ambulance service in the township—specifically to taxpayers' purses and wallets.

In a scathing statement released by the Gloucester Township Republican Municipal Committee as the dust was still settling following the township's banishment of the EMS Alliance, party chairman Ray Polidoro described the decision as "disturbing and chilling."

"This is an outrage, a staggering abuse of power,” Polidoro said in the statement, his sentiments directed at Mayer. "When did the Constitution become obsolete and a police state take its place?"

Mayer and Gloucester Township Police Chief W. Harry Earle announced at a press conference Tuesday that an inspection conducted Tuesday morning at Gloucester Township EMS Alliance's Erial station house revealed that five ambulances and a sport-utility vehicle were unregistered and two ambulances had not passed required inspections.

A state Department of Health spokeswoman indicated one of the ambulances had been unregistered since March.

Following the surprise inspection, the state put each EMS Alliance ambulance out of service on a temporary basis until the motor-vehicle and inspection violations were cleared up.

Republicans are now openly questioning whether Tuesday's move was made to eventually clear the way for ambulance service in the township under the control of Cooper University Hospital, which is headed by South Jersey Democratic Party boss George Norcross.

Kennedy Health System assumed control of EMS operations in the township at 6 p.m. Tuesday—roughly 10 hours after Gloucester Township EMS Alliance was told its services were no longer wanted. Kennedy, which has a hospital in nearby Stratford, will have two ambulances serving Gloucester Township on a 24/7 basis, with a third available during peak hours, officials said at the press conference.

As Gloucester Township EMS Alliance did, Kennedy will be billing patients for ambulance rides, not working under a contract for EMS services with the township, officials noted.

For his part, Gloucester Township EMS Alliance Chief Tom Eden Sr. said he is concerned about what will become of the 45 paid EMS personnel that work for him. He indicated Tuesday he offered to resign if it meant sparing the ambulance service's relationship with the township and his employees keeping their jobs.

Mayer "stated specifically he had no problem with the 45 employees. His problem was with me," Eden said on Wednesday during a telephone interview.

Now, Eden says he's scrambling to find contracts for the ambulance service he started back in 2000.

The state had cleared all Gloucester Township EMS Alliance ambulances to return to service by the time Patch spoke with Eden Wednesday, the longtime EMS chief said.

Republicans decried Mayer's decision as one made over "a technical issue regarding vehicle registrations."

Mayer, who did not return a message left with his office Wednesday afternoon seeking comment on Polidoro's "abuse of power" statement, indicated Tuesday the lapsed registrations were just the final straw for his administration. He cited repeated requests for financial and organizational documents that would assure officials the EMS Alliance was in good standing that went unheeded.

Mayer described the EMS Alliance's management as being in "disarray."

GTWatchdawg June 28, 2012 at 09:23 PM
With vehicles registered, a paper document should not have allowed Mayor Mayer to think shutting down the EMS service that has operated in this town for ten years tax free, was the thing to do. Then bringing up years old resolved tax issues (no mention of Mellace the accountant) to attempt to justify? Even the old Russian communists are laughing at Mayer.
Sean McCullen (Editor) June 28, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Just a point of clarification: The state Health Department spokeswoman stated the ambulances were unregistered--UNREGISTERED--not that they were lacking a piece of paper saying they were registered. She also noted that one of the ambulances had been in operation since March while unregistered. There is plenty of ammo, so to speak, for people falling on both sides of this issue to hurl at each other. Let's not make things up to suit our position. The ambulances were unregistered, according to a state official with no stake whatsoever in this issue. Btw: State law DOES require you to have that piece of paper saying your vehicle is registered with you. If you don't, you can be cited for failing to produce documents, even if the vehicle has been registered. Finally, let's put a rest to the personal attacks on other readers. Everyone is entitled to express their opinions here. That goes for everyone. Thank you.
Jim June 28, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Democrats suck. Plain and simple. The police chief needs to get a clue and grow some balls to stand up to political mud slingers. The residents will never benefit from this behavior. The township residents matter most. Abuse of power leads to corruption and immoral actions. We will see where this goes and will remember come elections and legislation time. As far as registrations and renewal time and due process should be fair and if the paperwork is in...... then MVC should be more timely. They do make errors and I can testify to lack of competent service with them . But as far as EMS if they can correct it without loss of service then the mayor should go jump in a lake and relax and worry about. Crime instead. The amount of drunken police officers driving should be a stronger platform for reformation. Start pursuing surprise random drug testing for township employees. And let's get to the truth on how many are under a doctors care. Then publicize the findings. Mayor included with anyone else exhibiting unsound bevavior. Them democrats are all nuts.
Darren Gladden June 28, 2012 at 10:46 PM
WOW 45 people out of work , but Guess what http://gloucestertownship.patch.com/articles/report-public-works-director-to-be-suspended-2-days-without-pay-over-council-meeting-blowup this guy only got 2 days and he is back to work ....Just care , Time for GT to make some real change
GTWatchdawg June 28, 2012 at 11:43 PM
Resolution to contract Kennedy Health Systems for EMS July 2nd http://www.glotwp.com/pdfs/agendas/sp-agenda070212.pdf USUALLY Council sneaks unpopular agenda items in at 6pm. Monday July 2nd Being introduced for a vote on Resolution R-12:07-152 Resolution confirming an emergency situation resulting from a declaration issued by New Jersey Dept of Health, office of Emergency Medical Services declaring the (7) seven Emergency Response vehicles owned by GT EMS Alliance to be out of service and thereby prohibiting their response to emergency calls and confirming the award of a contract to Kennedy Health System without quotes and sealed bids pursuant to the laws of the State of New Jersey.
Nottoohappywithgtwp June 29, 2012 at 12:53 AM
Dave really? Hiding behind your keyboard at your new gf's house!!! Your PATHETIC, get a real life LOSER!
Nottoohappywithgtwp June 29, 2012 at 12:59 AM
Update emergency meeting July 2nd at 6Pm called by council and Mayor. Come out to show your support hear the truth from the chief of Gt EMS, documents will be there for all to view? Thank you see you Monday!
N/A June 29, 2012 at 02:36 AM
Well Ray Polidoro AKA GTWatchdog, Mellace was not the accountant he was a consultant trying to get the EMS out of the trouble they had already gotten themselves into for not paying PAYROLL TAXES. You need to do better than a newspaper clip that was later redacted by the same paper it was published in as being inaccurate back then to prove your statement. Keep saying lies your just may find yourself on the opposite side of a lawsuit. That seems to be a moniker of the Republican party, after all wasn’t it the Republican Mayer Cindy Rau Hatton who gave Egan the contract in exchange for putting out some political signs around town....wasn't it Rau Hatton who also Hired the CEO that had the Municipality Fined and had bank accounts seized by the IRS for the same thing failure to pay PAYROLL TAXES....hmmm anyone else see the connection Republican Rau Hatton payroll tax IRS Levy - EGAN Republican payroll tax IRS Levy both even in the same year! The real question is why does the REPUBLICAN Party believe they don't have to pay Payroll taxes in the first place.
Megatron13 June 29, 2012 at 05:07 AM
Does anyone remember when the chief of GTEMS was locked up for DWI after showing up to a call intoxicated? However, I see people saying they don't respect the chief of police, Harry Earle. I don't recall ever hearing that "Lackey" Chief Earle ever showed up to work intoxicated and putting people's lives at risk. The Township only did what needed to be done. Unregistered vehicles may be a minor offense. However, if he can't register 5 vehicles, what else is wrong with this company? Do you really want a guy like him responding to your house if you or your family have a medical issues? Only people I feel for are the employees that lost there jobs. God bless them, hopefully they all find jobs in the near future.
Megatron13 June 29, 2012 at 05:10 AM
Jim, they do random drug testing ALL the time.
Megatron13 June 29, 2012 at 05:16 AM
Alex, just for the record. It is a tittle 39 offense to not have that little card in the vehicle at the time of a traffic stop. Yes, it can be looked up to see if a car is registered, however, it's the drivers responsibility to show proof the vehicle is registered, not the officers to look it up.
Michelle Wolfson June 29, 2012 at 06:37 AM
I think it is ridiculous for people to be attacking Chief Earle in this situation. He is just doing his job. He has nothing to do with the Mayor's decision not to allow GTEMS to continue to operate in GT. I certainly feel for the 45 people who will be put out of work. But whether or not this is something politically motivated, if the ownership of GTEMS broke the law (a minor offense or not) then yes, it is reasonable that Chief Earle be involved.
Lovelivingingt June 29, 2012 at 11:39 AM
Finally an intelligent response!
Michael June 29, 2012 at 01:07 PM
I think you read something into the law that you posted that isn't actually there. It is not against the law to operate a motor vehicle in the State of New Jersey if the Registration for that vehicle has been renewed and paid for and you are awaiting the paperwork to arrive via mail. Actually, it is just the opposite. It is legal. Check out the DMV website concerning registration renewals.
Michael June 29, 2012 at 01:17 PM
That would be me that called the Chief a political lackey, and I stand by that statement. How many police chiefs do you think would hold a press conference announcing that they solved one of the worlds greatest crimes by finding 5 unregistered vehicles? my guess would be not many, only one that I know of. The whole press conference was a political stunt, and the chief should be above that. Let the mayor hold his press conference with his solicitor and his BA, leave the chief at home. The chief is supposed to be above politics and concerned with law enforcement. In this case, he showed that he is not. As I posted earlier, I expect such shenanigans from politicians, I do not expect it from the chief law enforcement officer in my township. I'm sure that many in the NJ Police Chiefs Association are shaking their heads and wondering what he was thinking. He's lost credibility, tarnished his reputation, and shown that he will put politics above common sense. I can't wait to see what his next payraise looks like. I hope it is worth it to him.
Megatron13 June 29, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Michael, he simply discussed the legal part of the issue. He said his part and then turned it over to the mayor. Being that the personal standards unit for the twp falls under the police department, Chief Earle is obligated to at least say something during the press conference. As far as actually having the press conference, it just to keep people informed of what's going on in town.
GTWatchdawg June 30, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Do you think that it bothers Mayor Mayer to put the 45 EMS workers out of work during these tough economic times? Politics over People. It is the Norcross-Mayer way I suppose. It is not about the Police Chief and it is not about the head of the EMS service. It is about those 45 devoted local life savers. They have served this township for 10 years without a single complaint. Focus on those 45 local life savers.
Megatron13 June 30, 2012 at 12:19 PM
I agree it is deff ashame 45 people lost their jobs.
Alex B June 30, 2012 at 01:30 PM
I agree.. It's def politics over people, since when have you seen the state dept. of health shutting down a service with the police dep chief an several other officers standing over their shoulder as they worked..Since when is there a news conf. Over vehicle problems. Just a Chief who loves to be in the spotlight. Soon enough he will be on the other side of the camera along with the mayor trying to defend their heartless actions to make 45 people lose their jobs over one person they dislike to het their rocks off when the true facts come out. It is what it is for now but god bless them good souls who took the brunt of their actions and now have to scramble to find a way to feed their families.
Jerry McAllister July 02, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Nothing ever changes in GT. Same political machine, just different faces now and then.
A concerned citizen July 03, 2012 at 05:36 AM
No you don't stand behind someone who just made a stupid political mistake and is endangering the residents of his town!!!!!! If you or your family member needs an ambulance and the 2 ambulances that he put in play are busy you will think differently about his decision to take a company that had 5 ambulances available to handle calls. Now you'll have to WAIT for a mutual aid ambulance from ANOTHER town to respond. Hope you're not having a TIME sensitive thing like a HEART ATTACK, STROKE or TRAUMA!! I'm in EMS I've seen what waiting for another town's ambulance can do.
A concerned citizen July 03, 2012 at 05:43 AM
The Mayor put 45 hard working people from his own township out of jobs but calls himself a politician for for his township. Yeah RIGHT!!!!! Lets put you out of a job with no benefits (like health insurance!) Mr Mayor Mayor and see how you like it. These people were high quality EMTs who did their job well. Totally ridiculous. You went from having 3 ambulances plus volunteer all call ambulances to 2 ambulances. How is that a step in the right direction? Lets see how much mutual aid has to be called in to pick up the deficit that YOU made. A CONCERNED MICP
playersplacekid July 03, 2012 at 11:25 AM
Well the simple fact that none of the vehicles were being driven at the time and that absolutely zero tickets were issued says a lot about the whole story don't you think? Even based on what you said and combining that with the story it is easy to see no offenses occurred. They had 9 vehicles two were being operated legally. 7 had renewed registrations waiting tags and were already out of commission in a garage they owned. If only the other 2 were being used then they were not doing anything wrong. This is not a GT entity it is a private nonprofit. The most GT could have done was denied the 36K aid they requested, But remember that aid was agreed to in order to reimburse the EMS for runs they make and waive the fee from the people who have no insurance. Kennedy will not need that aid they already said they will not waive fees for uninsured. 45 people lost their jobs because of a witch-hunt and a vendetta. Mayer and Chief didn't like the fact that Eden put his son on the payroll after he was fired from the police force ...oh well, it is his business he has that right. I agree it was poor judgment but to put 45 people out of work over it was even worse judgment. Remember what Mayor Mayer does for living corporate takeovers for Comcast. This was nothing less than a hostile corporate takeover and for the government to do that to a nonprofit is a disgrace. Going on a witch-hunt saying they committed unsubstantiated crimes to gain public sentiment is reprehensible.
Another concerned citizen July 03, 2012 at 11:59 AM
It's a real shame that 45 people lost their jobs because their boss wasn't more proactive in getting something as small as paperwork in order. I also read that there were expired medications on the the ambulances and other violations. That is bad business practices and should have never happened. I totally respect all the employees but it's the person running the business that people should be aiming their anger towards. I don't agree that the township should have just let things go "business as usual". If it only took a couple of hours to straighten things out, why was there a problem to begin with? I really hope all the employees can find other jobs quickly. A few are personal friends and very good people.
CONCERNED CITIZEN July 03, 2012 at 12:54 PM
No Lovelongingt is a disgruntaled X employee who thinks he knws it all. But he was let go because of his disregard for SOP's and disharmony within the company and other reasons he knows. THe ambulances did have oxygen on all of them what was not attached to the oxygen was a key, most oxygen cylinders at GTEMS have toggles on them so you do not need this key. As far as missing Fire extinguisher from an ambulance that was third out (not in service ambulance) was due to the extinguisher being used and waiting for a refill- The items are important yes but they did not hamper saving a life.
CONCERNED CITIZEN July 03, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Yes they do,
CONCERNED CITIZEN July 03, 2012 at 01:07 PM
Ambulances do not carry medications, they carry saline water w/expiration dates, glucose w/expiration dates. Cravats, oxygen mask, tape, 4 x 4 do not have exp. dates on them. So if it was the saline water which is sealed and glucose which is sugar they could not have been outdated long if at all. The ambulance was running, getting people to the hospital and caring for patients. 70,000 residents and 2 ambulances are not going to do the job. Mutual aid will be in Glo. Twp twice as much. Previously tmutual aid only came in when GTEMS ambulances were all out working transporting pt. As far as the Lakeland response goes when they were to be evacuated- that was County bringing in outside ambulances GTEMS could have provided up to 9 ambulances but were not permitted and told 3 would be enough. No one was transported to any hospitals that night, not even GTEMS transported anyone so their 9 ambulances were not needed. If all 9 were at one scene at one time then who would respond to the calls of the Township. WAKE UP PEOPLE THIS IS ALL POLITICAL!!!
Paul J. DiBartolo July 03, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Smoke and mirrors. Say what you need to say and then do what you want to do.
Another concerned citizen July 04, 2012 at 12:10 PM
I still say if it only took a couple of hours to "get things straight", why did it happen to begin with? As far as only saline expired, my brother-in-law is an EMT and wouldn't use a bottle of peroxide I had because it was expired. Why were the employees made to work with equipment they weren't allowed (by law) to use? I wonder what the good people of Gloucester Township would be saying if this was swept under the rug and we found out our elected officials let such an important service continue to operate illegally in our community? I say wake up to those who think everything they don't agree with is politically motivated in local and national government. If I found out council let this business continue as it was, I would be demanding resignations. I work in the medical equipment business and if the state came in and found violations, no matter how "small", we would be shut down too. That would cause over 790 people to be unemployed. Who would be saying it was the mayor and police dept's fault? Really people?? I am just a regular citizen with no political connections, maybe that's why I see things differently? Also, if you look very closely into this, violations go much deeper than expired saline and registrations. The public should educate themselves with more facts before believing the nonsense that's being spewed.
Quiet Erial resident July 12, 2012 at 02:10 PM
I feel as though I should help clarify some things. For starters, the Mayor, Council, and especially the PD have an absolute concern (if not a right in my opinion) to have the ability to check on the "books" of the Alliance. The PD have the oversight of public safety including emergency medical services, so don't you think that they should know if the people or company they have providing EMS to the town is a sustainable entity? Registrations and inspections aside, according to the press releases the Mayor and Chief have been trying to gain access to that information, and information regarding the Alliance's chain of command, for months if not years. All of which fell on apparently deaf ears. Again information that would ease the minds that those people running the Alliance were doing a good job and were qualified to run that company in the interest of public safety. Next, can someone show me where the Alliance has 9 crews in service, or 5 for that matter as some on here claim? If I'm not mistaken there were 2 crews on 24/7 and one crew extra M-F. In the report to Council, it stated that the "all call/volunteer" crews (when called for) only responded something like 17% of the time, and I'd bet the majority of those were other crews who just happened to be there at shift change or when the supervisors got on a truck. So far I don't believe I have heard anyone state how Kennedy is handling the task, positive or negative. In the end, public safety is paramount.

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