Call 911! Residents Win!

23Aug10

If you call they will come

Harkins Releases Independent EMS Assessment; Announces Reforms

STRATFORD— Mayor John A. Harkins has released the results of an independent review of the Stratford Emergency Medical Services Department. Commissioned by the Mayor, Town Council, and EMS Funding Committee, the study’s intent is to improve the financial position and overall operations of Stratford EMS in advance of the department’s relocation to a newly constructed facility later this year.

“First and foremost, this study is encouraging because it concludes that Stratford EMS provides good medical care and emergency response to the people of this community to the extent that its current operations,” said Mayor Harkins. “That is a good base from which to build, and from which we must build in order to bring our EMS service in line with the Town of Stratford’s current needs. Stratford taxpayers have paid for the construction of a brand-new facility for this department, and must be assured that the Department is able to respond to this community’s needs.”

Harkins said that it is estimated that over $500,000 in billable services are lost to private ambulance companies due to a lack of volunteer EMT staffing during weekday shifts.

Harkins said that periodic reforms are necessary for any public safety department in order to adequately respond to a community’s changing needs.

“It is important to view this assessment not as a litany of failures, rather, as a series of recommendations to improve an already excellent department,” he continued. “Stratford has been well served for decades by our volunteer EMS force, and will continue to do so for many more thanks to the recommendations included in this review.”

The full assessment report can be viewed on the Town’s website, http://www.townofstratford.com, or obtained from the Town Clerk’s office (standard copy fees apply).

Mayor Harkins said that the report identifies four main areas for improvement within Stratford EMS: reducing reliance on mutual aid, clarifying chain of command, volunteer EMT recruitment and retention, and long-range strategic planning. To address these needs, the Mayor has announced the following recommended changes to Stratford EMS:

Make EMS a stand-alone town department and eliminate subordination to the Stratford Fire Department
Conduct a national search for an appointed Chief of Emergency Medical Services.
Place an additional Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulance in service during day shifts, Monday through Friday, to reduce mutual aid calls and increase revenue.
Out-source all medical billing and records services to improve collections and increase efficiency
Require mandatory ambulance hours for all volunteer EMT’s and professional development courses for supervisory staff

The changes will be phased in over the next several months, with full implementation by the end of the calendar year. EMS is a self sustaining department funded through service fees rather than the town’s general fund, and all changes proposed are budget and mill-rate neutral for taxpayers.

“These five organizational changes will help Stratford EMS live up to its true potential by clarifying roles within the organization and streamlining communication with the Mayor’s Office and the Town Administration,” he said. “By elevating Stratford EMS to the status of a full town department and raising the expectations of staff and volunteers alike, we can facilitate better strategic planning and EMT recruitment in order to reduce our reliance on mutual aid and increase revenue. All other recommendations made by the report will be considered after this fundamental reorganization of Stratford EMS, with the qualification that it remains a volunteer organization providing excellent service in a cost effective manner.”

For the entire report click the link below:

Full Report

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70 Responses to “Call 911! Residents Win!”

  1. 1 1george1

    Full implementation by end of Calendar Year = Just over 3 months.

    I wonder who will get the outsourced billing and/or finder’s fee?

    It looks like Jeze and others will get wish on replacing Donna Best.
    Unless the National search finds ….
    > I do not like firing people or replacing people.
    I suspect this will be another costly pension?
    Since it ends Calendar year, any employees with times in the new year
    get all of their vacation, sick, holiday pay as cash out and part of the
    Defined Benefit Plan.

    Stand Alone and not subordinate to Fire Dept?
    Maybe theat is why we have the OLD Fire Dept Building next to the NEW
    Fire Dept Building with 350% – 400 % cost overruns and unhappy firemen?

    Adding a Basic Life Support Ambulance to day shift M – F?
    Sounds great !
    I wonder if someone got a great BUY and / or we will pay TWICE as MUCH
    for the Basic Life Support Ambulance, like we did for 2 FIRE TRUCKS
    > ANYONE NOTICE GAVIN N E V E R refuted my ALLEGATIONS!!??
    Since it is DAYS M – F, I wonder what retirees, will be double di… I mean
    staffing week day shifts with bankers hours?
    No one ever has emergencies on nights or weekends?

    Mil Rate neutral is not as bad as normal, yet it is not Mil Rate positive,
    except – NOT being a negative!

    I do not demean the LIFE SAVING EFFORTS of EMS or any individual.
    I have to tease GAVIN – He enjoys it…. 😉

  2. 2 jezebel282

    George,

    “It looks like Jeze and others will get wish on replacing Donna Best.”

    It really was never about Donna Best. It was about response times and adequate care. Donna worked hard in her days as a secretary and from what I hear, a fair to good paramedic. As an administrator, she was awful. As an administrator with no supervision she was downright dangerous.

    “I wonder if someone got a great BUY and / or we will pay TWICE as MUCH
    for the Basic Life Support Ambulance, like we did for 2 FIRE TRUCKS”

    We already have five ambulances and two fly cars. (One ambulance is out of service). What we don’t have are volunteers to staff them or paramedics in fly cars.

  3. 3 jezebel282

    Before the postings appear that justifies these actions, we need to be clear about a few things.

    It is an honorable thing to donate your time, skill and knowledge in order to save someone’s life. For those that volunteer as EMT’s, EVO’s and Paramedics that is demonstrated every time they show up for duty.

    Without taking anything away from Police or Fire personnel, EMS staff do it for free. No OT, no pensions, no sick time, a pittance for a uniform allowance ($35 a year? Really?) and they pay their OWN money for training. And mostly they do it anonymously and, for years, working out of a basement.

    In return for this dedication, the very least they deserve (aside from our thanks) is effective and responsive management.

  4. 4 sudds

    “Mayor Harkins said that the report identifies four main areas for improvement… volunteer EMT recruitment and retention…”

    “Require mandatory ambulance hours for all volunteer EMT’s”

    This guy really is clueless, isn’t he???

  5. 5 jezebel282

    Sudds,

    “This guy really is clueless, isn’t he???’

    I’m not really sure what that means either. Clearly, though, there are “volunteers” that volunteer almost nothing. Some actually have zero hours logged in. Others are “officers” who only vaguely remember what the inside of an ambulance looks like.

    On the other hand, there are volunteers who regularly put in dozens of hours every single week. But they are usually disciplined or dismissed.

  6. 6 1george1

    Jeze,
    I appreciate posts 2 + 3.

    As people, I like Jon + Donna.
    Also Gavin + Calzone.

    I admire all of them related to EMS and doing things I could NOT
    and do NOT want to do.

    I have not first hand knowledge of EMS
    – I take a pass on the politics.

  7. 7 jezebel282

    “Historically, SEMS has been the object of neglect, manipulation, and interference by the previous leaders of the Town of Stratford. SEMS has been shuffled around in a variety of different management and reporting structures while at the same time, individuals outside of SEMS have been interfering with hiring and management issues. Internally, there have been various interpersonal conflicts, with accusations of nepotism, incompetence, malfeasance, insubordination, etc. These internal issues have been exacerbated by the lack of management and reporting structure within SEMS and the lack of political resolve within the Town’s executive offices”

    Nearly every person interviewed stated that SEMS is in poor condition internally and requires assistance to resolve their problems. Some common themes arose during the interview process. One of the most important trends that came to light is the current state of toxic relationships between many different individuals within SEMS. Removing/resolving these relationships and conflicts will be critical in ensuring the future success of SEMS.

    SEMS currently suffers from infighting between certain groups within the service. Each faction attributes the current problems of SEMS to other groups or individuals. The interview process revealed that the problems are the joint responsibility of all of the individuals and groups casting accusations, while the majority of the organization simply attempts to do their jobs and serve the community without walking into the crossfire between the factions.

  8. 9 justanemt

    But it could get worse; the current Administration has always been in conflict with AMR, the large commercial provider in Bridgeport. And recently, one of the Administrations captain was hired as the EMS coordinator for St. Vincent’s Hospital.
    (Many people feel this is a clear conflict of Interest for one person to be part of the administration of an EMS organization and hold a job to oversee that same organization.)This person is now spearheading a claim that the JHPC (Joint Hospital Planning Council, The organization that oversees and grants medical control for paramedic services in this area) did not exist since 2002. This ridiculous claim would mean that all paramedic care provided by AMR in Bridgeport since that time was illegal and AMR billed and collected thousands if not millions of dollars fraudulently for the past 8 years. This action which is clearly a “cutting off your nose to spite your face” move. For if this true for AMR than it would also be true for the Town of Stratford and could cost the Town Millions of dollars that they collected for paramedic care rendered during the same time frame.

  9. 10 jezebel282

    Just,

    You left us in the dust on this one.

    AMR got a $500.000 gift from Stratford because of poor administration and heavy, heavy reliance upon “mutual aid” to dangerous levels.

    Why does the Town have liability here (aside from neglect of residents)? To whom?

  10. 11 1george1

    The CT POST had a recent story about another volunteer Bridgeport
    city councilor getting a city job at the airport. Ergo, I would not be
    surprized if justanemt’s post was true about new job/conflict of interest.

    I would also not be surprized if there were intentional illegal activity
    to cause potential multimillion dollar liability to Bridgeport & Stratford,
    related to EMS Billing.

    I would type more to explain. But Jeze would move the post.

  11. 12 justanemt

    Jeze,
    While it’s is true that better Management would have provide better staffing thus decreasing the calls that were rolled over to AMR and others. The number of mutual aid calls is on us not them. AMR didn’t understaff the towns coverage, they only benefited from Stratford EMS’s mis-management. As to the issue I’m addressing, while Paramedic’s are licenced by the State, they must have approved medical control (it’s like a local licence) to practice within their local area. By questioning the legitimacy of the local agency, it’s brings into question whether or not those paramedic’s had the proper authorization to practice. And If they did not have the proper authorization then all revenue collected at during that time was billed fraudulently. If the JHPC was not a valid orginization, then the JHPC could not give a valid licence to a local agency (like AMR) to practice, and since the agency did not have a valid licence to provide the service (paramedic care and transport)they were commiting fraud. This is the argument being put forward primarily against AMR by a Stratford EMS Captain/EMS coordinator. The potential that all the billing for paramedic care since 2002 was fraudulent and must be repaid to Insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid would be huge. The problem is that Stratford would become collateral damage. Remember Stratford was also providing care under the medical control of the JHPC and what is true for one agency is true for all. Stratford EMS would be just as liable as AMR or any other agency of practicing Paramedic care without proper medical control.

  12. 13 jezebel282

    Just,

    OK, now I’m really confused.

    19a-179-2. Regional emergency medical services councils
    (a) There shall be a regional emergency medical services council in each EMS region of the state, such regional council boundaries shall be designated by the commissioner. Each council shall provide advice and guidance on policy to OEMS and the regional coordinator as to the regional problems, needs, and priorities in the area of emergency medical services.
    http://www.ct.gov/dph/lib/dph/public_health_code/sections/19a-179-1_to_19a-179-21_office_of_ems.pdf

    According to their website (sparse though it may be) the JHPC was formed in 1980. 30 years ago? Although it seems that our very own Lt. David Andrade teaches a lot of courses under the auspices of JHPC.

    I’m not entirely convinced that the liability would be anyone’s other than the State of CT’s since they promulgated the requirements, testing, specifications and authorities.

  13. 14 1george1

    Jeze + Justan

    I suspect Justan believes in personal responsibility and that personal
    decisions can be culpable.

    I suspect Jeze looks at the reality that Lawyers and Politicians protect
    political people making intentional malfeasant decision fall under work
    and are protected.

    On a JUSTICE DEPARTMENT complaint form, it plainly states the JUSTICE
    DEPARTMENT works for FEDERAL MANAGEMENT (MANAGERS)
    Unsure of the wording.

  14. 15 genericscreename

    Et al:

    Yes I have returned after a long absence. I must take a bow to myself, as if you check back on my prior posts over three years ago and subsequent posts, you will see that I presented this data a long long time ago. They EMS system needs a 911 call to itself now!. No further explanation required. it only took 3 year to confirm my posts!!

  15. 16 jezebel282

    Generic,

    As stated in the CBG Report (supra) there has been internecine fighting within EMS for years. Unfortunately, not a single Councilman (No, not you, Gavin.) nor Town Managers nor a mayor took control and settled the disputes.

    Not surprisingly, the only ones not involved in this fighting and bickering were the volunteer EMT’s, EVO’s and Paramedics. I’m guessing you had to be an officer to play.

    Even now, instead of looking to resolve a vital and cost effective service, there are still people like members of Local 998 that insist only they can do the job (for a LOT of money, that is.)

  16. 17 justanemt

    Jez,
    I apologize for the long post but to explain: Look at the following sections of the law.

    19a-179-1. Emergency medical services regulations. Definitions
    (o) “Medical Control” means the active surveillance by physicians of mobile intensive care sufficient for the assessment of overall practice levels as defined by statewide protocols.
    (p) “Medical Direction” means the provision of medical advice, consultation, instruction and authorization to appropriately trained or certified personnel by designated staff members at sponsor hospitals.
    (s) “Mobile Intensive Care Medical Director” means a physician on the staff of the sponsor hospital, appointed by the sponsor hospital to be medically responsible for the facility’s participation in the mobile intensive care system.
    (t) “Mobile Intensive Care Service” means the organized provision of intensive, complex prehospital care, consistent with acceptable emergency medical practices, utilizing qualified personnel supervised by physicians and hospitals as part of a written emergency medical services agreement with the mobile intensive care provider.
    (cc) “Sponsor Hospital” means a hospital which has agreed to maintain staff for the provision of medical control to emergency medical service providers and which has been approved by OEMS in accordance with Sec. 19a-179-12 (a) (7) of these regulations.

    19a-179-12. Mobile intensive care services (MICS): MICS authorization for patient treatment and establishment of mobile intensive care services
    (a) Establishment of Mobile Intensive Care Services
    (1) (A) A plan identifying the relationship between the MICS applicant and the sponsor hospital. This relationship shall be documented by a written agreement between the MICS applicant and the hospital’s chief executive officer, and the proposal shall include a copy of this agreement. This agreement shall specifically include the standards for MIC personnel and programs set forth in Secs. 19a-179-10, 19a-179-16 and 19a-179-17 of these regulations.

    19a-179-15. Reprimand, suspension, revocation of a license or certificate
    (a) The commissioner of health services, after a hearing, may issue a written reprimand to, or suspend or revoke a license or certificate of, any emergency medical services provider, or may temporarily or permanently suspend from practice any emergency medical service provider in any case in which he finds that there has been a substantial failure to comply with the requirements established under C.G.S. Secs. 19a-175, to 19a-199, inclusive, and these regulations, or in which he finds that the provider has failed to maintain the standards of the emergency medical services profession.

    The JHPC in our case is the “Sponsor Hospital.” Now While the JHPC is a cooperative organization whose budget come from both Bpt. Hospital and St. Vincent’s it’s actual location is at Bpt. Hospital and it is paid for through Bpt. Hospital. St. Vincent’s simply pays money into its budget.
    In 2002 Bridgeport Hospital, having the greater burden of underwriting the JHPC consolidated the position of Bpt. Hospitals EMS coordinator and JHPC Director into one.

    Now, the Best’s have a long history of conflict with AMR which I won’t go into (that would be another long post). And it’s my understanding that the complaint the JHPC was not a valid organization as a result of that position merger, and therefore it no longer existed, could not serve as the “Sponsor Hospital” came From Mr. Best, acting in his role as a staff member of The States Office of Emergency Medical Services to Mr. Kellogg, in His role as EMS Coordinator of St. Vincent’s. Now remember, Both Kellogg and Best are Captains in Stfd. EMS so there are conflicts of interest all over the place.

    The argument that is being put forward is that the JHP, as a result of the position merger in 2002, was not a legitimate organization and could not serve as the Sponsor Hospital for the EMS services in the greater Bpt. area. Here is where you should refer to the above parts of the law. The “logic” goes like this, if the JHPC was not a legal organization since 2002,and could not legally serve as the Sponsor Hospital then the EMS services, specifically AMR of Bpt., did not have proper Medical Control, Medical Direction, and could not have a valid license to operate a MICS.

    This would mean that all the billing that AMR collected for MICS since 2002 was falsely billed and fraudulent. Insurance companies and especially Medicare could sue to get back all of the fees that were paid during that time frame. That’s a lot of money, and remember that under Medicare law, a penalty of up to 3 times the money that was fraudulently collected can be added onto the damages.
    Now while the primary target of this complaint seems to be AMR, Stratford would be collateral damage, since we were also acting under the Medical Control of the JHPC as our Sponsor Hospital since 2002 and could be held liable for fraudulent billing as well.
    So why would they (the Best’s and their supporters) do this? I suspect that while there goal is again to “take down” AMR, that based upon today’s headline, that the can see the writing on the wall and their control over Stfd. EMS maybe ending, so why not take Stfd. EMS too.

  17. 18 1george1

    Justan
    Excellent post, with the last paragraph being your political opinion
    and/or question?
    I neither agree, nor disagree, since I do not have first hand facts.

    However, what appears to have happened in EMS appears to parallel
    the Stratford Town Charter, name of this blog, in my opinion.

    Neither town attorney Burturla nor Bishop will issue a people’s initiative
    petition for referendum.
    I could also speculate on reasons?

    I also believe things in Stratford could be subject to Violations
    Criminal
    Civil
    Constitutional

    I believe both you and Jeze are touching those issues, from different
    perspectives.

    I have not looked at GENERIC’S long ago POSTS about these issues.
    I would not doubt GENERIC has blogged about this years ago …

    Everyday in Stratford politics and appendages (EMS) appears to be 30 years
    of groundhog day.

  18. 19 jezebel282

    Just,

    Living in Stratford, we are certainly familiar with the phrase “vengeance is mine”.

    But to get it straight, both Jon Best and Ken Kellog are officers in EMS that is supposed to report to Jon Best and Ken Kellog and Donna Best is the chief administrator?

    I have to assume that St. Vincent’s, being the Catholic hospital that it is, probably has some sort of ethical code that prohibits an employee from supervising himself. The State I am far less confident in.

    As for”taking down” AMR…good luck with that. They are a $2.07 BILLION company. During the year ended December 31, 2009, AMR treated and transported approximately 3.2 million patients in 38 states utilizing more than 4,100 vehicles that operated out of more than 200 sites. I’ll bet they even have a legal department.

    There comes a point where you’ve lost, you admit it and you move on. I think the time right now is Best.

  19. 20 justanemt

    George,
    By the last Paragraph, I was referring to the article in the CT post today, along with the the report and what the mayor plans to do.
    Clearly, while neither the Administration, nor the membership come out “Scott-Free”, It does appear to me that it is the Administration that shares the greatest amount of the burden here. The environment is so toxic the many people stop volunteering during Business hours,(when the “Chief” is in her office), or leave altogether.
    And while I also understand that in the private sector, the environment is not a democracy, here the volunteers wish to all be part of the system. Akin to the Towns government,and the successful model of other volunteer systems around us, The membership would like nothing more then to have an elected body that would develop the policies and procedures, while an administrative/supervisory staff, appointed through a testing/interview process would oversee and enforce those P & P’s, with the final head of the organizational chart being the Chief of Emergency Services.
    This brings us back to your point Jez, Yes Jon Best and Ken Kellogg are captains within SEMS under Chief Donna Best, But Kellogg is now the EMS coordinator for St. Vincent’s. So who oversees who? In all previous cases when people from the “field” services moved into oversight positions, whether from an individual Hospital or a joint Sponsor Hospital (like the JHPC). Do you really think Trumbull or Monroe EMS or private companies like AMR or Nelson ambulance will believe that if there is an issue with SEMS he will be objective. And as the ethics and conflict of interest complaints roll in, how will it make our town look?

  20. 21 justanemt

    sorry, typo,
    a sentence above should read, “In all previous cases when people from the “field” services moved into oversight positions, whether from an individual Hospital or a joint Sponsor Hospital (like the JHPC) the individual resigned from any services that they would now be overseeing, just to avoid any conflict of interest complaints”

  21. 22 justanemt

    As an aside note, from the Ct Post article, “EMS Administrator Donna Best, who runs day-to-day operations at the station, is unable to discipline staff when necessary, the report said.”
    And Jez commented on the CT Post Website “Unable? That is all she does.”
    It is my understanding that disciplining staff was a responsibility that was taken away from Donna because she had made so many errors especially with the per diem and paid staff that the town was being exposed to many potential labor law suits.

  22. 23 jezebel282

    Just,

    “It is my understanding that disciplining staff was a responsibility that was taken away from Donna”

    Can you explain that one to Jasinski or EMT Simmons?

  23. 24 jezebel282

    The gift that keeps on giving:

    “Miron said that while he was mayor, Gavin Forrester, an EMT and chairman of the EMS Funding Committee, was on the Town Council. Miron and Forrester often disagreed during and outside of council meetings.

    “I would assure you that if Gavin saw that there was any political interference with my administration he would have talked about it, he would have done something,” Miron said.”

    What were those screaming matches between Gavin and Moron during questions to the mayor about? Lying again?

  24. 25 1george1

    JEZE: What were those screaming matches between Gavin and Moron
    during questions to the mayor about?

    GEORGE: could they have been “acting?”

    1 – Does Jeze have specific articles in the POST, STAR, or BARD that
    GAVIN raised these SPECIFIC ISSUES or anything about the PENSIONS?
    Front page back to back days in the CT POST = same story PENSIONS,
    where BAUER trying to play SPIN =? Michael J Fox?
    – Today my letter destroys the POST STORY
    – My obsessed buddy Joe Pedoto resurfaced! I love his writing! 😉

    2 – Gavin bought many FOI – did nothing with it!

    3 – Feehan raised the ISSUE about the FIRE HOUSE becoming EMS?
    Feehan stated he thought the FIRE HOUSE was unusable.

    Chris Sylhavey’s wanted $ 1.6 million fire house.
    Sylhavy was outvoted to a local for $ 1.8 million.
    After Sylhavey beaten by baretta – robert blake – Decilio asked how
    the firehouse went to over $ 2.3 million?

    Now the cost is over $ 7 million.
    Decilio is Registrar at $ 28,000 pay + $ 28,000 benefits – 20 hour work
    week with ONE PRIMARY and ONE ELECTION a YEAR.

    Great place where someone could potentially do his accounting
    company’s work while being paid e;sewhere.

    I actually do not believe LOU would do that.
    LOU has built up Republican Voters, while being paid with Tax Payer $$.

  25. 26 jezebel282

    George,

    “GEORGE: could they have been “acting?””

    No.

  26. 27 1george1

    JEZE

    Where is PROOF from newspaper reports Miron was wrong and that
    GAVIN went public on the above?

    Would you contend Jim + Dick Miron were in error in every thing they
    ever said or did?

  27. 28 jezebel282

    George,

    “Where is PROOF from newspaper reports Miron was wrong and that
    GAVIN went public on the above?”

    You were at almost every Council meeting. You must have heard it yourself.

    “Would you contend Jim + Dick Miron were in error in every thing they
    ever said or did?”

    Error? Nope. I’m sure they did and said everything they did on purpose.

  28. 29 justanemt

    Jez said,
    “Can you explain that one to Jasinski or EMT Simmons?”

    This was the second time that medic was terminated, and all disiplinary action now come through HR and not directly from Best. It was because of her mismanagement of the first time that medic was terminated, (along with many other disiplinary actions, (that were often handed out based on who you were not what you did), that were overturned by HR and\or the state labor board) that she lost the ability to discipline the staff. HR spent so muct time straightening out the personal issues she created that the found it easier to intervene BEFORE she acted than after.

  29. 30 jezebel282

    Just,

    “she lost the ability to discipline the staff.”

    That was pretty evident when 5 EMS officers present on the 3rd of July declined to respond to three 911 calls. No disciplining there.

    Makes you want to be the AMR regional sales manager.

  30. 31 1george1

    Jeze,

    I witnessed this.

    Gavin called Jim a NUT. I think it was related to Hanney?
    Gavin made issue on FOI requests and offered a check.
    Then did nothing with the info.

    Gavin headed CRC # 1 which Jim was against Mayor system.
    Gavin helped create n staff CRC # 2
    Gavin stated town charter did not work. Then did nothing.

    Gavin was good at holding meetings and asking questions they
    wanted to ask and avoiding other points, same as FAC.

    I can not speak about EMS issues.

  31. 32 1george1

    I challenged GAVIN + CALZONE to STEP UP, related to EMS.

    I expect a new EMS POST Sunday from CT POST where both are quoted.

    Doctors, Nurses, EMS deserve props. It takes a special kind of person
    to be able to work and be responsible for saving or losing a life.

    Unpaid volunteers, who maintain their hours … gotta tip my hat.

    I saw GAVIN a couple of times recently.
    It is tempting to give him some carp about many Council /BoE issues
    including Pensions, Health Care, Firehouse over runs, Fire Trucks, etc.

    If or when Gavin is ready ….. and Calzone …
    They are good people …. who are too close to flea carriers …

  32. 33 1george1

    In talking to a long time Stratford couple, today, it appears the
    plan of the long time delayers of development is working?

    The people who caused the economics delays, lost revenues and
    increased cost want the PUBLIC to throw up their hands and accept
    ANY Economic Development the cunctatorialists planned.

  33. 34 phineast

    Ahhhh George, on your last post you are not entirely correct-you only spoke to 2 old timers-the bulk of the residents care about the development of the town-but they also want some relief from the blood sucking nepotistic, gimme it I gotcha now political BS that is ad nauseum in this town. That is what we really want relief from-when we get rid of this our tax bills will definitely go down substantially.
    We as taxpayers had to pay a fortune for that EMS study to definitively prove the necessity of terminating the current dept. head so she couldn’t claim “politics” because of her husband. If anything, there should be a filing cabinet full of ethical complaints about the impropriety of a family member directly supervising an immediate family member in the line of duty: it was an issue in the pd-big time-there were questions in the FD but thankfully those individuals were impeccably professional.Even so- It is ethically improper-I don’t care how “qualified” the individuals think they are. It opens this town up to liability and that is unacceptable. Providing a report that cost thousands of dollars that interviewed everyone is quite a hoop to jump through to block a lawsuit. It sickens me that it is necessary, but in this instance I believe the expenditure was absolutely justified. The writing is on the wall-shand it should be read before this person becomes a bigger fodder for newsprint. If she chooses not to…her fault-this is the political BS that we taxpayers want over with.
    George- “where is the proof that Miron was wrong?” Just review every single meeting and press conference that he held during his tenure, look at all the projects he worked on….the bigger question is where is the proof that he was right about anything or did anything correctly?…….
    I searched during his tenure and couldn’t find anything he did 100% correctly. Nothing. He couldn’t even leave office correctly or graciously. Just goes to show you that is his approach to everything in life-

    Justanemt- you are anything but “Just” an EMT. We are very grateful to you for your service to the community and for having the courage to stand up and speak. Dedication, intelligence and courage are a winning combination and we are fortunate to have a volunteer like you in the community.

    Jez, keep up the good work…your blog is far better than the post…..

  34. 35 1george1

    Phin
    Your reply about the couple I spoke to garnered the result I desired
    and agree with. Thank You.

    I agree with most of your post.

    Jim Miron proposed DEFIBULATORS and TAX BREAKS for SENIORS / VETS.
    DEFIBULATORS were implemented (I believe)
    Likely a gavin-calzone or best idea?
    someone please inform …
    Jimmy had to be attracted to a word with FIB in it….;)

    The TAX BREAKS were not as much as I preferred, with different priorities
    stretching out to higher income, so more people got something, but not
    really meaningful for the worst off.
    Republican Town Council shot his proposal down and passed a version
    even more watered down.

    Unlike Anthony who came not to praise Caesar, but to bury him ….
    My criticism of Jimmy was well documented and scathing in the debates,
    and I am glad he is partially gone.
    Unfortunately the Town / State / Fed parties are filled with Fagin knights.

  35. 36 1george1

    Who is CBG Strategies, LLC?

    Apparently related to the EMS Story?

  36. 37 jezebel282

    George,

    “Who is CBG Strategies, LLC?”

    Perhaps if you read the story or clicked on the report?
    https://stratfordcharter.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/36420779-ems-assessment-final.pdf

    Other than that, they are just a bunch of lousy Harvard graduates. You know how they are…

  37. 38 1george1

    “Other than that, they are just a bunch of lousy Harvard graduates.
    You know how they are…”

    Jeze they can’t be worse than YALE, could they?
    Esq John Williams (betrayed me) was Harvard grad.
    Jeze, recognizing your sense of humor, are you Harvard?

    — jeze always responsive and sometimes accurate! 😉

    “Who is CBG Strategies, LLC?”

    Perhaps if you read the story or clicked on the report?

  38. 39 1george1

    Jeze,

    I can not promise to post where you feel appropriate.
    I can try, for a few days, to be less of a b – – – buster, to you.

    I do not ask for reciprocity. 😉

  39. 40 jezebel282

    George,

    That’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me.

  40. 41 jezebel282

    Don’t forget dedication of EMS volunteers

    Published: 04:20 p.m., Monday, August 30, 2010

    Many people often wonder what the difference is between a volunteer EMS member and paid EMS employee. The only difference is at the end of the week one gets a paycheck and the other doesn’t. Every member requires the same certifications, classes and licensing to do the job, whether volunteer or paid. When you call 911, you get a professional who is ready to help.

    As a volunteer for the Stratford EMS department for almost five years, I live each day hoping for change. Recent articles have had some truth in them, but have not captured the most important thing, the dedication of the volunteers. For many years the unique thing about Stratford EMS is that we still have volunteer members who come to work every day to do the same job that many people do for a paycheck. I have worked with these volunteers for several years now and I have never met such a dedicated and outstanding group of people. Our volunteers put in a lot of hard work and many hours of their own time each year. Most of them have full-time jobs and families, yet they still find the time to give back to their community by helping to save the lives of others. In EMS, you never know what call you will respond to, or what your day may bring. It could be as simple as a person having the flu to something as serious as a life-threatening trauma. These volunteers leave behind their family each day and report to duty to help others, never knowing what obstacles they will face or if they will return home again safely.

    It seems that EMS is often treated like second-class citizens and viewed as a nuisance, rather than a respected organization of life-savers that is a vital link in the town’s public safety plan. This takes a toll on the volunteers’ morale to the point of sometimes not wanting to admit which town or service they work for. It seems that the negative light shined upon Stratford EMS often comes from rumors that are spread around by people who barely know how EMS functions or what takes place at EMS headquarters. It is easy to jump to conclusions and assume that it is solely a management issue or a volunteer issue, but it is not any single individual’s fault. EMS has been left to fend for itself for 30-plus years, housed in the basement of the police department, with little or no resources from the town budget. You can’t change the way things are if no one is willing to recognize the organization, and listen or assist in helping get things done to effect change. As a volunteer, it is hurtful and demeaning to read the rumors that are published, without validation, and spread around by people ignorant of the facts.

    Volunteers put in countless hours every year to help save lives and better the quality of life of Stratford residents. We could not cover a majority of our calls if it wasn’t for such hardworking and dedicated volunteers. This dedication often goes unnoticed and unappreciated and this makes morale suffer in even the most dedicated volunteers. Volunteers are tired of receiving false hope and lies from our local politicians and leadership. I think it’s time that someone listens to the voices and concerns of the volunteers and make some real changes that benefit the town residents, as well as the department of Stratford EMS.

    It is very easy to read an article and make judgments about the workings of EMS and who is at fault. But it isn’t about fault; it is about the lives of the people we work for — the people of the town of Stratford. We are hopeful that we finally have received recognition that things need fixing, and our mayor has taken a stand to begin changing them. At the end of the day, EMS isn’t about numbers, reports or money, it is about saving lives and making a difference for the people of Stratford. This is the only reason the volunteers exist and continue to volunteer despite all the issues before us.

    Diana Dias

    President

    Stratford Volunteer EMS Association

  41. 42 phineast

    Well said, Diane…..I know I am proud of the volunteers of EMS. I always have been. I was one of them back in the day when it was ALL volunteer and we had a volunteer roster of more than 150 and Lt. Bredice was in charge as part of his police duties. Even back then there were gaps in the schedule(not bad though) but the volunteers were appreciated by the people that administered the town business. The cops appreciated not having to “throw and go” in the back of their “wagons” the council received accolades from across the state about the service and the cost to the taxpayers was minimal. Today the business of EMS vs AMS reminds me of how Al Capone conducted his business…the whole affair is ridiculous and it is easy to see why the volunteers are discouraged–you have people making a lot of money who according to a report and personal accounts are awful at their job-the citizens have had enough of this BS( and it is BS) during the Miron years-maybe this is just a left over that needs some house keeping.
    What ever the problem is it needs to end immediately, even if it means house cleaning at the top and correcting inappropriate behavior at the top,middle and bottom. The solution needs to begin somewhere, so it seems to me that you start with the actual administrative issues and set a clear documented code of behavior for everyone including the volunteers. From there the only place to go is up…seems like morale is already at the bottom.
    I for one am grateful for the dedicated service and skills of the volunteer EMS and will continue to be proud of the Stratford EMS Corp.

  42. 43 jezebel282

    I do not disagree that EMS volunteers are this town’s treasure. We are correct to literally trust them with our lives.

    However EMS is run as an “Enterprise Fund”. Looking at those numbers, something seems to be very amiss. The claim (entirely believable) was made here that EMS lost $600,000 in revenue to American Medical Response. According to statements and reports in newspapers, that represents about 12% of the calls. With a total revenue of $1,795,000 that is just not possible. In addition, $380,000 was siphoned off and transferred to the General Fund of Town, never to be seen again.

    Further, the Council approved 7 paramedic positions at an average salary of $57,000 ea. We have four. Even worse, only $16,000 for education for the entire staff for the whole year was allocated.
    http://www.townofstratford.com/Upload/147/16273/24818/74.PDF

    If the Town can reimburse tuition costs for Ashley Haydu under Miron, why are we not training up any EMT’s to be paramedics?

    There is far more wrong with EMS than just morale.

    In another sense, Ms. Dias is also correct. It is not the fault of one person (although that person deserves the lion’s share). For years, EMS was supposed to be reporting to Fire Chief Cavanaugh. We are painfully aware of his deficiencies for telling the truth and effectively managing anything.

  43. 44 jezebel282

    Yet another issue:

    No one in this Town can provide any data for response times. We have no idea what the average response time is. Not for EMS, not for Fire and not for Police. Zero. What we have are anecdotal accounts of response times of 20, 30 even 40 minutes.

    The reason? There is no mechanism in place to collect the data. Apparently the Town selected the lowest bidder for Dispatch software. The vendor failed to comply with the SLA and now we are left with a legacy system with, of course, no source code or documentation. Software is never finished, it is only abandoned.

    Without knowledge of response times or peak call periods, how is it possible to plan anything? How can anyone tell if improvements are being made? “Trust me” only works in politics not in emergency services.

  44. 45 1george1

    I AGREE with Diana, Phin and Jeze theme.

    FACTS are dangerous things to some people.

    I do not trust any facts involved in the FAC report as being the
    WHOLE TRUTH, because Bob Sammis and I didn’t get what we
    requested prior to the report.

    I do not believe any contracts on file nor a lot of information in
    Town Hall, due to high turnover of leaders of Human Resources
    and levels of integrity in Town Hall, as blogged by various people.
    – There is a huge lack of continuity since Barnhart/Obernesser.
    – There were also times when information was unattended, when
    on considers the positions which were opened.
    – I have court experience with rigged and false information to the
    Judge and jury, assuring defeat in the Mossman civil trial.

  45. 46 1george1

    The Letter by Diana is well writen and I can not disagree, since her
    sentiments mirror most of my postings.

    Except – she is a Volunteer EMS and president, deserving praise for a
    volunteer position I could not do.
    – I also praise Gavin, Calzone, the Bests, Justan.

    Her point of getting the job done is the priority.
    Not pointing fingers.
    I do not have direct knowledge of internal EMS politics, so I have
    not taken sides, except to the point IF A + B are true, they do not
    seem to be good practices or they are good practices.

    I also point out some people have financial motives from making or
    breaking volunteer units.

    Her requests for help and direction “happen” to coincide with the NEW
    HARKINS directives and the PENDING OPENING of the EMS building that
    I suspect Gavin + Calzone had a lot to do with creating..
    It appears to be badly needed.
    It also appears to have used deceit to be created and appears to have
    cost over runs, but not (YET) as bad as the FIRE HOUSE.

    Jeze – I will ask in the nice way, because of your knowledge of info and
    people in police / fire –
    1) What was the original cost of the FIRE HOUSE as passed over SILHAVEY’S
    recommendation?
    HINT: Near or over $ 2 million
    2) What is the cost to date of the Fire House construction?
    HINT: Near or over $ 7 million

    Jeze – if there is a $ 5 million cost differencial of $ 5 million in 7 years,
    for that money, the Town Council could have bought 20 new NON CUSTOM
    FIRE TRUCKS at $ 230,000 EACH and completely outfitted all 120 Firemen a
    couple of times over with all the equipment they claim to NEED!

    Jeze – do you find it unusual or appropriate the silence of the Fire Department
    RANK and FILE and Town councilmen like GAVIN + CALZONE to be SILENT while
    soooooo much money was spent on rounded gold bricks of the exterior and
    other extravagancies?

    Who do we know who sells gold bricks, granite, tombstones, WW II Memorial
    materials and the like?

    Isn’t there someone who got at least some of that business and none of your
    favored people who are supposedly critics of that person said S Q U A T ??

    Could it be there is Q U I D p r o Q U O ??

    If people were falsely accused of ripping off Tax Payers, Widows, Orphans,
    Vets, Troops, Seniors, Minorities, such as I am inferring about some people
    you praise, wouldn’t you expect them to defend their H O N O R ??

    Oh only Glenn Beck and Sara Palin can write about H O N O R.
    Reminds me of all of the pictures of “W” in FRONT of FLAGS
    and CHENEY / RUMSFELDT at GRAVESITES for their GHOULSIH FEASTING

  46. 47 1george1

    CORRECTION:
    Original Fire House passed by Town Council over Silhavey suggestion
    was UNDER $ 2 Million – not over as posted above.
    I forgot to change the copy/paste.

  47. 48 jezebel282

    err..what was the question?

  48. 49 phineast

    Jez- the fire department has to provide response times as part of the first responder status. For all calls you can FOI data from the dispatch center (or the PD which is separate) which must keep records of dispatch time and arrival time. It would be far simpler if they would share the listings-but you know your “chief” friends in the pd and your fave. fire chief won’t make it easy for you. There is definitely documentation available-to be a first responder you have to meet a certain criteria and response time is part of that criteria.

  49. 50 1george1

    To Jeze:
    Jeze – I will ask in the nice way, because of your knowledge of info and
    people in police / fire –
    1) What was the original cost of the FIRE HOUSE as passed over SILHAVEY’S
    recommendation?
    HINT: Near or over $ 2 million
    2) What is the cost to date of the Fire House construction?
    HINT: Near or over $ 7 million

    I am playing nice.
    Even in generally the correct blog line EMS / FIRE
    EMS HQ = OLD FIRE HOUSE.

    ============== BONUS QUESTION ====================

    Isn’t there someone who got at least some of that business
    and no one said S Q U A T ??

    Could it be there is Q U I D p r o Q U O ??

    If people were falsely accused of ripping off Tax Payers, Widows, Orphans,
    Vets, Troops, Seniors, Minorities, such as I am inferring about some people
    you praise, wouldn’t you expect them to defend their H O N O R ??

  50. 51 jezebel282

    Phin,

    “For all calls you can FOI data from the dispatch center (or the PD which is separate) which must keep records of dispatch time and arrival time.”

    I’m not going to bore you with gory details, but I’ve done that. It seems that Dispatch Time and IT time are running on different clocks.

    “fire chief won’t make it easy for you.”

    Apparently there is some heated discussion (no pun intended) concerning who is better able to efficiently handle medical calls. EMS or the FD.

    While educational, the realities of Stratford render the discussion hypothetical only. As long as Donna Best, James Cavanuagh and Curtis Maffet are administrators no method is better than the other.

    As I have mentioned, there is only one candidate willing and able to be Chief of EMS. But that choice is so non-political, logical and obvious that it won’t be seriously considered.

  51. 52 jezebel282

    George,

    “Isn’t there someone who got at least some of that business
    and no one said S Q U A T ??”

    Sigh…

    Those particular decision were made years ago. Ask Gavin Forrester III.

    In the meantime, I still want to know how $600,000 of dropped 911 calls can equal 12% of nearly $1.8 million. Or why there is an educational account of $16K while $380,000 was raked into the general fund.

  52. 53 1george1

    Those particular decision were made years ago.
    Ask Gavin Forrester III.

    GEM: Silent as the SPHINX. Good to read him in print, FINALLY!

    In the meantime,
    I still want to know how $600,000 of dropped 911
    calls can equal 12% of nearly $1.8 million.

    GEM: Ask Gavin Forrester III.

    Or why there is an educational account of $16K
    while $380,000 was raked into the general fund.

    GEM: Ask Gavin Forrester III.

    GEM Q.: Who chaired / was member of?
    Finance and Claims
    Budget Workshops
    Budget Hearings
    Town and now BoE Budgets
    Pension Boards (About 60 % Obligation increase in 6 years)
    Town Charter Revision # 1
    co-creator + staffing Town Charter Revision # 2

    A. Gavin Forrester III.

    I respect Gavin Forrester III:
    EMS Volunteer,
    Intelligence,
    Financial competence,

    I question Gavin Forrester III’s political decisions and general silence!

  53. 54 jezebel282

    George,

    “GEM: Ask Gavin Forrester III.”

    It’s not like he doesn’t read this blog. If it makes you feel better, he is “officially” asked.

    As you know (probably better than anyone) actual answers in this Town are not readily forthcoming. It takes a lot of research, legwork, listening to partisan opinions, separating outright lies from the truth, FOI’ing things that should be available as a matter of course and patience.

    Almost everyone knows by now, you don’t pick up the phone and simply dial John Harkins without being intercepted and deflected by Adam Bauer.

  54. 55 jezebel282

    Clarification:

    “Gavin B. Forrester, a 22-year member of the station with nearly 11,500 volunteer hours under his belt, considers 12 percent [of dropped calls] a danger to public safety.”

    In fairness to Mr. Forrester, 12% seems to be a number plunked down by Brittany Lyte ( https://stratfordcharter.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/leave-a-number-were-busy/#comment-13499 ) without citation.

    Either way, it simply can’t be 12%. It’s either more than 30% or the amount of revenue in the budget is a GROSS understatement.

  55. 56 ronmoreau

    Jez,

    “Either way, it simply can’t be 12%. It’s either more than 30% or the amount of revenue in the budget is a GROSS understatement.”

    $1,795,000 Ambulance service fee.

    $600,000 Loss Revenue?

    approx. 30% , not 12% delta.

    Where did the $600,000 figure come from?

  56. 57 1george1

    read.

  57. 58 ronmoreau

    Thanks George,

    I knew I could count on you. A one word post from you?

  58. 59 ronmoreau

    If the figure really is 30 %. The situation at the Stratford EMS is much more dire…

  59. 60 ronmoreau

    How does 30% loss of revenue equate to 12% of the missed calls?

    Comparing apples to oranges?

  60. 61 sudds

    “How does 30% loss of revenue equate to 12% of the missed calls?”

    Any good accountant can make that work!!! 😛

  61. 62 1george1

    I will not comment on internal politics of EMS.

    I never attended any EMS Meetings.
    I have attended Town Council and Committee Meetings where I
    eyewitnessed and heard related conversations.

    I can get Budget Information and other information from variety
    of sources.

    This EMS stuff, while life and dead, involves stuff that is not black
    and white and which I have no specific budget background to verify
    or debunk the figures. As Ron posts:

    How does 30% loss of revenue equate to 12% of the missed calls?
    Comparing apples to oranges?

    GEORGE requests RON to combine 1 paragraph or 1 sentence posts.
    Why?
    They push down other posts and I have to go look for PENSIONS and
    DARK SIDE to bring those to the fore …
    until Jeze decides to create a new “george” post.

    Actually many of those posts are now relevant between PENSION
    ISSUES and KELLY vs. MIRON political race.
    the Mirons did same trick.
    I have much shorter posts than in past … so … fair is fair.
    =============================================================
    As Jeze Posts:
    “GEM: Ask Gavin Forrester III.”

    It’s not like he doesn’t read this blog. If it makes you feel better,
    he is “officially” asked.

    As you know (probably better than anyone) actual answers in this
    Town are not readily forthcoming. It takes a lot of research, legwork,
    listening to partisan opinions, separating outright lies from the truth,
    FOI’ing things that should be available as a matter of course and
    patience. ….. (of JOB ….) 😦

  62. 63 jezebel282

    Ron

    “Either way, it simply can’t be 12%. It’s either more than 30% or the amount of revenue in the budget is a GROSS understatement.”

    $1,795,000 Ambulance service fee.

    $600,000 Loss Revenue?

    approx. 30% , not 12% delta.

    Where did the $600,000 figure come from?”

    Exactly!

    They came from an unbiased source (AMR).

    “https://stratfordcharter.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/leaving-money-on-the-table/

    Recently obtained reports cite the fact that Stratford EMS was unable to respond to ~1300 calls last year, which would be roughly 25% of the call coverage or approximately $600,000 dollars in lost revenue for the department.

    $600,000 in lost revenue. This is not a guesstimate since the numbers were confirmed by separate reports from AMR corporate in Colorado which contains nearly identical numbers. Additional reports are available from the Southwest Regional Communications Center (the agency that used to do our EMS/FD dispatching for 1/3 the cost.).

    Under the management of Donna Best there is $600,000 of revenue that is now totally gone. How much more next year? We suppose as long as the paramedics, EMT’s and other volunteers continue to cower in front of Ms. Best, it won’t matter.

    Does anyone else think Stratford EMS could use an extra $600,000?”

    Somebody is lying. Are you shocked?

  63. 64 1george1

    I defer to Jeze and others on this topic.

  64. 65 jezebel282

    Update:

    Today, 5 more 911 calls were handed off to AMR (and the day isn’t nearly over yet). At a minimum, that’s $2,500 in revenue gone today.

  65. 66 jezebel282

    Update:

    8 more 911 calls given to AMR yesterday. $4,000 in revenue lost.

  66. 67 1george1

    Jeze, who were those pictures in the Stratford Star with EMS
    Department Head Donna Best, who appears to have supporters?

    I read one side of arguments about EMS on this blog, and every
    thing may be all true ….. or not?

    I give props to both sides for their work as volunteers (or paid)
    to save lives.

    Your points about AMR are excellent and makes me wonder if there
    are “intentional” reasons for lost calls and if there may be kick backs
    and steering involved?

    I thought it is just too descriptive about Stratford Politics and USA
    politics, that a certain associated company name is “disaster by design?”

    Not intending to insult anyone.
    I am just trying to raise some balance, while furthering your questions,
    which appear legitimate?

    I have NO KNOWLEDGE of actions within EMS, which have had reports.

  67. 68 jezebel282

    Update:

    While we (still) wait for some changes at EMS and some direction from Fire Chief Cavanaugh, don’t get sick or in an accident next week.

    Only 26 volunteers have signed up for duty for all of next week. Some days next week there is only one volunteer available and on another day there are only two.

    This situation is unsustainable.

    Here’s a thought: Maybe somebody should mention somewhere that Stratford is in dire need of volunteers?

    Here’s another thought: With so many unemployed capable people, how about waiving the cost of training in return for guaranteed hours?

  68. 69 1george1

    Jeze – You actually posted a realistic potential solution for a real local problem.

    I am soooo proud of you. I am both teasing and praising!

  69. 70 jezebel282

    George,

    “a realistic potential solution for a real local problem.”

    Which is why it probably will never happen.


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