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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."

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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