This Can’t Be Good

26Sep11

Jon Best’s Open Letter

New EMS Logo?

Before reading further, please click on the link above and read the Open Letter from Jon Best and three volunteer officers of Stratford EMS. We do not wish Mr. Best to be misquoted.

We should also note that the Harkins administration has taken several steps to drain funds from Stratford EMS to make it a “paying” operation. Stratford EMS will now have to pay (called “charge-backs”) for Town “services” such as Human Resources, Information Technology, Public Works and financial “services”. So far. No mention has been made to date of other “services” provided by the Town, but they are probably coming. We find this an incredible policy. Stratford residents who volunteer their skill and time are now being asked to not only pay taxes but subsidize Town Hall employees. Stupefying.

But back to this story. Hopefully, by now, you have read Mr. Best’s letter. Aside from some glaring inaccuracies contained in it, it should also be noted that Mr. Best is a plaintiff against the Town, the Mayor, the EMS Director and the consultant who recommended the structural change. This is called a “conflict of interest” in most circles and, judging from the character of this letter, just another cannonball to be fired in the war. http://civilinquiry.jud.ct.gov/CaseDetail/PublicCaseDetail.aspx?DocketNo=FBTCV116018916S

Between Mayor Harkins and Jon Best, raise your hand if you think any of this is a good thing for Stratford EMS or the residents who depend on it. You know, like you and me.

Here is a hint: Can we act like grownups here and realize that Stratford EMS is supposed to save lives and not be a football kicked around by people who think they are important?

Jon Best’s Open Letter

For the record:

Total volunteer hours (includes “Officer’s” meetings, Explorer Post meetings and special events) year to date:

Jonathan Best 146:57
David Harden 181:08
Jeffery LaReau 187:16
Marissa Love 129:07

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57 Responses to “This Can’t Be Good”

  1. 1 mikereynolds

    I do not agree with what the town is doing with EMS. However any objection from the Best’s is just so…tainted. They object to their own little kingdom being taken away from them. If this letter didn’t have his name on it I would put more faith in it.

  2. 2 jezebel282

    Mike, I have to admit that I don’t have a very good idea what it is a volunteer “officer” actually does. Perhaps that is the point of eliminating them? In my experience, when I’ve had occasion to call 911 for a relative, two to three highly trained, professional and very kind EMT’s/Paramedics had shown up. Not a single one represented him/herself as an “officer” nor would I have cared.

    To be honest, this seems as if it is primarily focused upon getting rid of any Director of EMS that disagrees with Jon Best. It is extremely unnecessary and divisive.

    More dangerous to you & I are the draining of funds from Stratford EMS. It is simply not that large of an operation.

  3. Sounds like Jon Best has a problem with some sand in a very sensitive place. Through the rumor mill I have heard that the current paramilitary structure of officers will be dismantled (Capt & Lt.) and that anyone that meets the qualifications of a newly created VOLUNTEER supervisor position will be welcome to apply, including the current officers. I have heard nothing of the elimination of volunteers. I have also heard that the service is looking at hiring (with town approval) paid supervisors to ensure 24/7 supervision which is something the service has been lacking. I have also heard that the 4 officers that signed the letter provide the fewest actual service hours to the town of any of the officers (actually taking calls and treating patients). Perhaps Jon Best and these other officers are just upset they can’t call themselves “Captain” and “Lieutenant” any more. Maybe Jon Best upset that under the new “nepotism” clause of the town ethics code, he probably won’t be allowed to be a supervisor under his wife any more.

  4. 4 jezebel282

    Bajing,

    I am not really sure what Mr. Best’s problem might be other than the obvious one.

    However, the decision by John Harkins to leave TWO “chiefs” in charge of Stratford EMS was wrong from the outset. If EMS was “dysfunctional” and “toxic” before the CBG study (that we paid for) then this decision only makes it worse.

    This entire matter and the ones that will follow are entirely the responsibility of Harkins, Ron Ing and Tim Bishop. (Mayor, HR Director and Town Attorney).

  5. According to the Stratford EMS website, which has finally been updated a little, there isn’t anyone with the title “Chief” anymore. Phil is listed as the director and Donna is listed as the Administrator. Those are the only titles the town actually recognizes. Donna’s previous title as Chief was something that was only found in the “Operations Manual” for the agency, which can be found on the website as well. They have also removed the contact info for the volunteer officers whose titles of “Captain” and “Lieutenant” were also only found in the “Operations Manual” and not officially recognized by the town.

    It seems like the “Best” camp is trying to get public opinion on their side by implying that these changes are messing up something that was working. It obviously wasn’t working or there wouldn’t have been a consultant hired to review the operations. I think the Best’s are afraid of losing their power. They obviously don’t care about the residents of the town based on their performance on 7/3/10 (https://stratfordcharter.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/leave-a-number-were-busy/).

  6. 6 jezebel282
  7. 7 jezebel282

    Bajing,

    Before I forget (and thanks for posting that link), this may be very interesting:

    jezebel282 on July 31, 2010 said:

    Phin,

    “who were the supervisors that were on, we might as well put it all out there.”

    There are just not that many to choose from.

    Captain Jonathan Best
    Lt. David Harden
    Lt. Jeff LaReau
    Lt. Marisa Love

    They were the ones present on the evening in question and failed to respond.

    Why is this interesting? These are the very same names that appear on Jon Best’s Open Letter.

  8. 9 1george1

    Final of 3 drafts for Stratford Star
    It includes priase for unpaid Volunteer EMS, specifically
    6 people and also for honest professional Police & Fire
    It has zero relationship to Jon Best open letter, while it
    supports some of the things JB’s letter appears to support:
    .
    .
    Suggestions for Public Interests:
    Moved to: https://stratfordcharter.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/stratford-gang-meetings/#comment-17367

  9. 10 1george1

    Sorry Jeze – don’t know right spot for Just Wondering?
    Moved to: https://stratfordcharter.wordpress.com/2011/07/28/tea-party-caucus/#comment-17368

  10. 11 1george1

    Move to Tea Party string?
    Tea Party?

    Ya really know how to hurt a guy when he is down.

  11. 12 jezebel282

    George,

    LOL!

    “Ya really know how to hurt a guy when he is down.”

    So you DO notice what topic your comments are in?

  12. 13 jezebel282

    But back to the topic.

    Mr. Best (and by their signatures, the other three officers) stated in their letter that Stratford EMS seeks “the elimination of the volunteer members in total”.

    That is clearly not true. In fact, for the first time in at least four long years the application for volunteers is finally available to anyone wanting to volunteer: Click here for your application.

    Although this website has for years promoted volunteering at Stratford EMS, Stratford EMS has not made it easy…..until now.

    Does more need to be done to attract volunteers? Absolutely. It is abundantly clear that Mr. Onofrio is painfully aware of this as well.

    As for this issue of per diem “paid” EMT’s & Paramedics we are talking about an average “pay” of about $200 per WEEK. By the time they deduct commuting costs and lunch money, they are back to being essentially volunteers.
    (http://www.townofstratford.com/Upload/147/16273/31499/79a_Emergency_Medical_Services_R_and_E.pdf)

    Finally, here is a thought: Instead of worrying about the exalted position of “officer”, perhaps it would be better to put on a uniform and ride in the ambulance.
    Patients are waiting.

  13. 14 1george1

    George, LOL!
    “Ya really know how to hurt a guy when he is down.”
    So you DO notice what topic your comments are in?

    Obvious in retrospection for some.
    Others I believe are in the right place.
    You may move some or all of this post.
    I keep having to LOG IN. 😦


    I SUPPORT:
    VOLUNTEER EMS = LOW / NO COST SERVICE to Tax Payers
    HONEST PROFESSIONAL POLICE
    HONEST PROFESSIONAL FIRE
    HONEST PROFESSIONAL ATTORNEYS – as Employee, instead
    of HOURLY
    HONEST ADMINISTRATION

    There is room for honest agreement & disagreement.

    Honesty can be subjective interpretation, political prioritization

    JEZE – I THINK the above is the right place.
    I do not know where Jeze will move the below?

    To here, George: https://stratfordcharter.wordpress.com/2011/02/05/the-dark-side-ii/#comment-17373

  14. 16 jezebel282

    Bajing,

    “Now it’s in the Star”

    Of course it is. Now it’s a threat to public safety. Honest to goodness! Can you imagine what would have to occur to put Jon Best (or the other three “officers”) in charge of a disaster? They wouldn’t even recognize half of the EMS staff that would show up. Sorry, but if it were me, I’d be looking around for Asst. Chief Tom Murray or Jack Conway. They would actually know what to do.

  15. The patch also updated their story with the response from Director Onofrio.

  16. 18 jezebel282

    Reply From Gavin Forrester III, Advanced EMT, Chairman Board of Education

    October 4, 2011
    Editorial Editor

    Re: Response to Stratford EMS officer’s open letter to the community

    Let me first preface my response with a constructive criticism of the letter in so much as if you are going to take issue with someone please have the courtesy to at least spell the man’s name correctly. In the final two paragraphs of your open letter you incorrectly spelled Mr. Onofrio’s name as Mr. Onofiro not frio. And for total disclosure I have been a volunteer with Stratford EMS for 24 years, have past served as an officer in the department, consistently exceeded my requirement to remain active sometimes three fold while serving the public as an elected member of the Town Council and Chairman of the Board of Education, and will never be confused as a supporter of the Best’s administration of Stratford EMS. The authors fail to reveal that there are in fact six remaining officers from an original complement of nine and that the former head of the department could have opened the positions for application at any time but failed to and failed to even appoint temporary replacements for such critical positions of Training Lieutenant, Paramedic Lieutenant, and Operations Captain. I’m left to wonder that if the present structure of nine officers is so critical, why you would then leave 33% of the staff officer positions unfilled. It should also be noted that the two other remaining officers were approached to sign the letter but refused for reasons that remain their own.

    Now I will address the many fallacies that were presented in the letter. First off in my opinion it’s irrelevant that Stratford EMS is a municipal department versus a commercial department. The function is the same, to provide emergency medical response, treatment, and transport service to a community, in this case the Town of Stratford. The authors claim that treating Stratford EMS as a corporation would somehow be “dangerous for both responders and the general public”. While no facts are substantiated to prove that theory I am left with the question of why then would Cities like Bridgeport, Fairfield, Stamford, Hartford, and Danbury to name a few adopt a system whereby they have contracts with private commercial services to provide emergency medical response within their communities. Is the assumption by the officers that these municipalities are somehow putting their residence at risk by allowing a corporation to provide service? Mr. Onofrio has supervisory experience with both volunteer services as well as American Medical response in Bridgeport and similar experience in Bristol Connecticut so from what I see his qualifications are impeccable. Each municipally listed, along with Stratford, has an emergency manager or coordination system that can interface with both municipal and private entities during times of emergency to insure that the public is safe. The fact that Stratford EMS remains a municipal department within the Stratford governmental structure only furthers to insure that the public safety will be paramount. I for one do not find anything wrong with the public sector trying to improve their efficiencies by adopting a commercial or corporate approach, maybe then municipal dollars will be spent more wisely, and in the best public interest.

    The Authors also make the statement that Mr. Onofrio is somehow “destroying’ the system that has served Stratford so well over the years. Well let’s take a look at some facts shall we. As an example the number of volunteers putting in hours back in November 2009 was 74 and the number of hours donated was 1,522.14 and that number of participants had dropped to the low 50’s to upper 40’s in 2011 prior to Mr. Onofrio’s arrival. The latest report made to the Town Council Public Safety Committee shows an increase in new membership in excess of 50 applicants in various stages of the approval process for volunteer membership, and for the month of August 2011 the numbers of volunteers putting in time was 67 but the hours accumulated has jumped to 1,978.50 which is a 30% increase in time volunteered. He must be doing something right to have that affect in volunteer membership and hours in less than six months on the job.

    Another fact, January 2011 , before Mr. Onofrio’s arrival, there were 578 requests for service with Stratford EMS covering 515 or 89% and AMR along with other services having to mutual aid 63 times. Fast forward to August 2011 (post Mr Onofrio’s arrival) and there were 509 requests for service and Stratford covered 483 which is a 95% coverage rate or a 6% increase in answered calls by Stratford, with only 26 calls having to go to mutual aid and there were -0- paramedic intercepts in August which is a recent low. I’m not even getting into the administrative issues of non-compliance with OSHA and other requirements that had not previously been dealt with or the fact that the State Labor Board ruled against the Town of Stratford in the case of Paramedic John Jasinski’s termination case which could still potentially cost the taxpayers $$ to settle the wrongful termination case.

    The Author’s seem to be claiming that Mr. Onofrio has a closed door policy, however, I have asked for and had the opportunity to meet with the Director on several occasions and in my observation his door is always open to the membership and the general public. I would venture to say that, in my opinion, during the tenure of these specific officers more than a few policies or procedures were changed without input of the volunteers which they now accuse the current Director of doing. They also acknowledge that they can apply for the volunteer supervisor’s positions and seem to want a “guarantee” that they will be selected. I am sure that if they apply their accomplishments as effective leaders within the organization would be evaluated by the panel selected by the Town to conduct the interviews and if worthy they would be reappointed. Mr. Onofrio’s compensation for overseeing EMS and the Dispatch Center is $100,000 ($95,000 attributable to EMS and $5,000 to Dispatch) which is comparable to the following administrative level positions within the Town that supervise far less that the 100 + members that he now supervises; Public Works Director $97,000; Building Official $90,567; Town Engineer $99,845; Parks Superintendent $90,567; Sanitation Superintendent $95,091; Fire Marshall $94,500; Police Captain $90,432; Assistant Fire Chief $90,598; and Human Resources Director $94,500.

    The officers fail to address the fact that since there is not 24/7 supervision of EMS currently, unlike the other uniform services in Town or a commercial service like AMR, that they would have to be available to respond in the event of need and most of not all of them has full time employment that precludes that. In the event of a significant incident like a fire with the loss of life or a major motor vehicle accident that occurs between 6 PM and 8 AM the Town has had to rely upon the availability of 6 volunteer officers and or Donna Best to be available to respond to the scene which could cause a critical delay in supervisory decisions being made.

    In closing we should not ignore that fact that one of the officers, Jonathan Best, has joined in a lawsuit along with the current Administrator Donna Best, against the Town of Stratford seeking unspecified monitory damages. I’m left to ponder how much of the letter is an attempt to justify or set ground work for the lawsuit and how much of it is true public concern. In either case facts don’t lie, the service volunteer membership is growing making our reliance on part time paid staff less which will free up resources that can be applied towards fulltime supervision. The number percentage of calls being answered by Stratford EMS is increasing and the need for outside commercial provides like AMR is decreasing thus cutting down on response times and providing a higher quality service to our residents.

    Sincerely
    Gavin B. Forrester III

  17. 19 jezebel282

    Readers can see the results of increased volunteer hours at:
    http://svemsassociation.com/Hours/2011/Aug_11_hrs.asp

    Editor’s Note: If you happen to know or meet any of the volunteers listed, it is OK if you say “Thanks!” when you talk to them.

  18. 20 jezebel282

    Mr. Forrester,

    “will free up resources that can be applied towards fulltime supervision”

    Well, yeah. That is a possibility. However, prior to that, it would be appropriate to supply volunteers adequately. One pair of pants and one shirt per year is wholly inadequate. With Fall and Winter coming, adequate winter clothing (a coat, gloves and maybe a hat) would be a good purchase.

  19. 21 1george1

    I wish this new wordpress would log me out.
    Old one was better.

  20. 22 1george1

    I do not know the internal workings of EMS.

    I know and like Gavin, Bob, and Jon as people.
    They do have an “appearant” excellent record of volunteerism.
    We do not agree politically on many issues.

    Gavin did an excellent job stating his position and rebutting
    the position of Jon.

  21. 23 jezebel282

    George,

    “Old one was better.”
    You get what you pay for.

    “I do not know the internal workings of EMS.”

    It’s not that complex. You have a combination of poorly paid and/or volunteer MRT’s, EMT’s, Advanced EMT’s and Paramedics. This combination of paid positions and volunteers will continue because people get sick and hurt 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is practically impossible to staff at that level with unpaid volunteers.

    But paid or not they are there whenever you call and their only goal is to save you. It is actually one of the things in Stratford we can all be proud of. This whole “officer” thing is overblown and irrelevant.

  22. 24 1george1

    Hmmm. Rank positions in a volunteer organization?

    Give the wrong order or the wrong way, the volunteer walks.

    I guess superior knowledge and competence would justify rank?

    TANGENT WARNING
    I was President / VP of bowling leagues which I ran as volunteer.
    I tried doing everything my self year 1, except Secretary & Treasurer,
    which were paid positions.
    We averaged 26 teams of 5 people (3 men/2 women or 3 women/2 men)
    for 15 years, twice filling Circle lanes 1969-1984.

    I found that people wanted to run their own stuff and other people
    would be willing to contribute their fair share.
    I made sure foundations and support were in place, so no one lost
    money and helped (mostly watching & behind scenes support) to make
    sure events were successful.

    13 summer weeks bowling in air conditioned comfort (1970s AC was
    kinda new/extravagant)

    Catered Picnic at Year End withTrophies

    Pre July 4th food (cold cuts / bread) & beverage (beer / soda) each
    team made a side dish, desert, salad, etc Raffles

    Yankee Bus Trip with 4 sandwiches per and Beer / soda.
    Run by Yankee fans. One year it cost only $ 12.50/person including
    tickets. Never that low again.

    Bus trip to Riverside Amusement Park.

    Beach Party at Fairfield’s Penfield Pavilion – choice surf or turf.

    We raised over $ 19,000 my last 3 years for MDA.

    What’s my point?

    1) Volunteering should be fun, or at least enjoyable!

    2) Elect me Mayor and a real party will start, including everyone1

  23. 25 jezebel282

    George,

    “Volunteering should be fun, or at least enjoyable!”

    Ummm..I would actually prefer trained and certified when it comes to EMT’s and Paramedics.

    In contrast to claims made in Jon Best’s letter, the EMT’s and Paramedics I’ve met are well trained (to an amazing degree) and dedicated to treating Stratford residents.

    Extra drama is clearly not needed. Every time an ambulance pulls out there is plenty of drama to go around.

    And to be clear, emergency medicine is constantly evolving (thank goodness). There are no EMS departments anywhere that do not change. Stratford EMS is no different. The focus should be on attracting new volunteers and ongoing continuing medical education.

  24. 26 1george1

    Enjoyable is different than Fun

    Some people enjoy saving lives and helping people.
    Some people …nuff written.

    Without taking sides in Jeze + Gavin v Best.
    Both sides have some validity, I think.
    I believe Bob Calzone, Gavin, Jeze have legit issues.
    It is not like this is new.
    A friend calls it tribal warfare.
    Each of the tribes have a rainbow of members

    I would agree with the rest of the Jeze post.

  25. 27 jezebel282

    George,

    “Without taking sides in Jeze + Gavin v Best.”

    In a way, you have a very good point. There should be no “sides”. It is important to remember that the point is to provide the best pre-hospital care to Stratford residents and businesses.

    It is clear that volunteer hours have risen significantly despite claims that Stratford EMS “is dying”. Again, this whole thing amounts to the loss of a bit of prestige and nothing more. There seems to be a lot of energy wasted on a non-issue.

    Once again, the focus should be on attracting new volunteers and ongoing continuing medical education not on who gets to wear white shirt.

  26. 28 mikereynolds

    From the CT Post…

    “It’s to get rid of me,” said Best, who has been volunteering at the department for 31 years. “I stand up to (Onofrio) and I represent what I believe is right. I will question him and say to him, `Why are you doing this?’ and that’s not what he’s looking for. He’s looking for people to say `Yes’ to him.”

    Yeah, ok Jon. Like your wife hasn’t demanded the same thing for 20 years. Bullying volunteers. Threatening legal action for proposed votes of no-confidence. Writing up paramedics just to be vindictive.

    Why are volunteers happier now? Why are hours up? Why is revenue up?

    You can cry all you want but like the old adage goes, “It all comes around.”

  27. 29 1george1

    Mike,
    Most of the major political people in Stratford and the rest of CT.
    had better pray that “It doesn’t all come around.”

    There are many, many good people in politics and government.
    If the police across the USA grow patriotism and balls …. this
    country could be the country it claims to be.

  28. 30 jezebel282

    “It’s to get rid of me,” said Best,

    Sigh…

    Months ago I asked several (very) reliable sources within EMS, PD and FD to let me know when Jon Best is scheduled to work an ambulance and how often. (He is a licensed paramedic and fully capable of saving a life).

    I am still waiting…..

    Which begs the question: If there really is an evil plot to get rid of Jon Best, who will notice that he is gone?

  29. 31 jezebel282

    And then there is the other letter signed by four fifty members of Stratford EMS.

    The Opposing Letter with all 50 signatures

  30. 32 mikereynolds

    Wow.

    That letter is very damaging to the Best’s efforts to hold onto their little kingdom.

    That 50 members of EMS were able to sign that shows that they are no longer afraid of Donna.

    The bottom line is these changes are good for Stratford and bad for Jon Best.

  31. 33 1george1

    The primary signatore Mr. Giasullo, was one of the EMS people,
    who helped me Sept 16.
    I emailed my thanks to Gavin who helped me.
    I spoke to Mr. Marino and Cathy Coppola, to thank them.
    I was not able to reach Mr. Dressler.
    I have not been able to reach Bob Calzone to thank him.

    Six of the six volunteer EMS people who helped me, in the field,
    were signatores to the attached petition.
    > I appreciate the efforts of Stratford’s volunteer EMS.
    > I lack knowledge of day to day EMS operations.
    > It appears the Volunteer EMS people who know the day to day
    operations have cast their positions of where they have confidence
    and where the lack confidence.

  32. 34 jezebel282

    Update:

    A number of EMS volunteers attended the Council Meeting and Public Forum on 11 Oct.

    If anyone still doubts the intent of EMS to attract volunteers, it would be wise to listen to the volunteers own words:

    http://www.townofstratford.com/content/1296/1376/3133/15757.aspx

    It more or less destroys whatever credibility (if any ) Jon Best has.

  33. 35 jezebel282
  34. 36 mikereynolds

    It would appear that the Best’s have new careers. Filing lawsuits.

    http://civilinquiry.jud.ct.gov/CaseDetail/PublicCaseDetail.aspx?DocketNo=FBTCV126024893S

  35. 37 jezebel282

    Mike,

    “It would appear that the Best’s have new careers. Filing lawsuits.”

    Is it like Lotto where the more tickets you buy the better your chances are? Are you allowed to have more than one suit at a time for the same thing?

  36. 38 mikereynolds

    I don’t think so but you would have to ask the Bests. They sure seem to think it is.

  37. 39 jezebel282

    Mike,

    “I don’t think so but you would have to ask the Bests.”

    Seems like another “win” for the Town Attorney to me. I suppose we just can’t pay him enough, huh?

    Between that and Harkins siphoning funds from EMS I would suggest that we all stock up on bandages and aspirin. Pretty soon none of the ambulances will be able to afford gas.

  38. 40 1george1

    Another win for Town Attorneys Billing
    and loss for the Town’s people & image.

    We need a political Robin Hood combined
    with Ben Franklin wisdom.
    Politics needs an enema!

  39. 41 mikereynolds

    “Between that and Harkins siphoning funds from EMS I would suggest that we all stock up on bandages and aspirin. Pretty soon none of the ambulances will be able to afford gas.”

    Gee I’m glad you’re overreacting to this. As if the town would actually let that happen. Step back from the ledge and join the rest of us in reality.

  40. 42 jezebel282

    Mike,

    “As if the town would actually let that happen.”

    You should attend a couple (maybe even one) Public Safety Committee meeting. It’s happening alright.

  41. 43 mikereynolds

    Stop…you’re talking nonsense. I’m not debating that the town is charging EMS for services. But if you’re trying to sell that the town won’t be able to put gas in ambulances or afford medical supplies then you’re really talking nonsense. You post a lot of good stuff but please don’t insult our intelligence.

  42. 44 jezebel282

    Mike,

    “But if you’re trying to sell that the town won’t be able to put gas in ambulances or afford medical supplies then you’re really talking nonsense.”

    Perhaps. But that remains to be seen doesn’t it? It is certainly a dangerous approach. You must remember that neither of our other emergency services (the PD and FD) generate a “profit”. They are both considered total expenses.

    Stratford EMS is unique in that it is able to bill for it’s services in a majority of cases. In many cases it is not. It will also never compete on the most profitable portion of an ambulance service’s business which is patient transport. Imposing fixed costs on a service that is thoroughly dependent on a variable volume of calls is at best a gamble. Thinning capabilities or staffing would result in transfer of revenue to commercial mutual aid services (as we have already seen) and endanger Stratford’s population.

    It is one thing to say that Stratford EMS has increased its capabilities and call volume at the end of the year and celebrate a large transfer of funds from EMS to the General Fund. It is quite another to impose costs on the service before the call volume has been achieved.

    My analogy would be competing in a race but, wait a minute, please carry this 50Lb bag with you. It is not a very good way to win a race.

  43. 45 mikereynolds

    I’m not a volunteer and so I have no experience to base this on. But what does a volunteer care where that money is going? You show up for your shift and do your job. All you want is for the proper equipment to do your job and for a management structure to support you. Beyond that I don’t think the average volunteer worries too much about where all the money goes. Its not like all the revenue that EMS generates goes into the volunteer’s pockets. Its not the volunteer’s money it’s the towns. That’s why all the hysteria you create over where the money goes is over the top.

  44. 46 jezebel282

    Mike,

    “That’s why all the hysteria you create over where the money goes is over the top.”

    Are you missing my point on purpose? The money should go towards patient care, training and reducing response times. That’s what I care about as a resident. If there is money left over, that’s cake. I would certainly not ask a volunteer to subsidize Ron Ing or Sue Collier when I already do.

  45. 47 mikereynolds

    Ok fair point. No show us where the money isn’t going towards patient care, training and response times. The ambulances are rolling. I hear them responding to calls every night. You keep harping on this with lines like, “I would suggest that we all stock up on bandages and aspirin. Pretty soon none of the ambulances will be able to afford gas.” You don’t think that’s hysteria? I’ve talked to some EMT’s and they said that morale is better than its been in years. They’re not complaining. Why are you?

  46. 48 jezebel282

    Mike,

    “No show us where the money isn’t going towards patient care, training and response times”

    When it goes to “rent” for the land. When it goes to HR and Ron Ing’s time. When it goes for Accounting and Sue Collier’s time, when it goes to the Town Attorney and Tim Bishop’s time. Those are just a few of the chargebacks.

    “They’re not complaining. Why are you?”

    Because I am a resident and I already pay a painfully substantial amount of taxes for those Town Hall services.

  47. 49 mikereynolds

    “The money should go towards patient care, training and reducing response times.”

    You make it sound like there is no money for any of those things but obviously that is not correct. Is patient care suffering? Where are the facts to back up your over the top statements? You make it sound like there is no money for EMS to operate. When was the last time an ambulance couldn’t get refueled? When was the last time an ambulance was not stocked with enough medical supplies to perform its job? Are ambulances being pulled off the road indefinitely because they can’t be repaired?

    “Because I am a resident and I already pay a painfully substantial amount of taxes for those Town Hall services.”

    So what? How does it concern us if the town is charging EMS for services? You pick up the phone and dial 911 and an ambulance shows up, often with a medic and a fire engine. Whether or not EMS is paying for town services is not going to stop that ambulance from showing up in front of your house.

    You have a problem with this. Fine. I’m not saying I agree with it either but to make incendiary comments like you have is utter nonsense.

  48. 50 1george1

    Jeze ….
    I appreciate that you and I can use hyperbole polemics
    to accentuate the point one is trying to make.

    I further appreciate that the Town Treasury is a ZERO SUM
    situation and not a bottom less pit.

    EXAMPLES:

    I favor good pay and benefits, yet I wonder when the 2010 BUDGET
    of $ 185 MILLION has $ 51.7 MILLION in BENEFITS
    > 1 Mil is $ 4.5 Million
    > BENEFITS are between 11 & 12 Mils.
    > Then there are a WIDE VARIETY of BUDGET EXCESS
    > Then there are UNDER FUNDINGS due MANDATE & ECONOMIC
    EXODUS, due to our BLAZING SADDLES Economic Development

    Of the $ 185 MILLION has abour $ 25 MILLION in FEDERAL / STATE
    GRANTS & FUNDING. This LEAVES about $ 160 MILLION collected
    from TAX PAYERS.

    Of the $ 51.7 MILLION in BENEFITS > $ 19.85 MILLION is for the
    BUDGET LINE of DEFINED BENEFITS or about 4.8 Mils.

    YO Mike Reynolds – Why not take a ride to the LIBRARY Reference
    and compare LINE ITEMS related to BUDGET BOONDOGGLES:

    1 – HEALTHCARE
    2 – PENSIONS
    3 – ANNUTIES
    4 – LAWYER FEE GROWN
    5 – DEPARTMENTAL BUDGET GROWN
    6 – PURCHASING
    7 – ECS & other UNFUNDED MANDATE.

    However Mike Reynolds, since you “likely do not live in Stratford,”
    and would “NOT be paying Stratford Property Taxes,” maybe you
    do NOT care that Senior Citizens, Low Income, Middle Income,
    Fixed Income and others are paying about 40 % more property
    Taxes than we should be paying.

    Maybe you are one of the people being paid time and 1/2 or double
    time to sleep while officially working….
    This is aimed at willful mismanagement and collusion, and in NO way
    is meant to disparage the COURAGE and TRAINING of FIRE and
    POLICE, among others.

    Extra $ 1million a year each for Attorneys, Police, Fire = $ 3 million
    or 2/3rd of 1 Mil.

    It adds up.

    I am willing to debate ANYONE about STRATFORD BUDGETS and
    RAMPANT CORRUPTION by the so called genteel class.

    Come on Mike, I expect your insults like “Tin Foil hat” and other
    “unimaginative declasse jibes.”

    But every viewer / blog reader knows much of the truth and where
    many of the faults lies ……

    If M I S P R I S O N had climinal jail time – 30-40 % of Stratford would
    deserve to be jailed.

  49. 51 jezebel282

    Mike,

    “So what? How does it concern us if the town is charging EMS for services? You pick up the phone and dial 911 and an ambulance shows up, often with a medic and a fire engine. Whether or not EMS is paying for town services is not going to stop that ambulance from showing up in front of your house.”

    Seriously? I don’t even know where to begin with this one. Oh wait! I know! How about: https://stratfordcharter.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/leaving-money-on-the-table/

    Let’s try this scenario: you pick up the phone and 25, 30 or 40 minutes later an ambulance shows up.

    “How does it concern us if the town is charging EMS for services?”
    Let me be more plain. Everything that happens at Stratford EMS concerns us because our lives depend upon it. It couldn’t be simpler. When your child is in respiratory arrest, trust me, you are going to want the best EMS personnel showing up and you’re going to want them to show up really fast. When your mom or dad clutches their chest and falls to the floor, you’re going to have that same opinion.

    I want the finest EMS service possible. I don’t want some local politician using it as a piggy bank to make his budget numbers look good. Just like everything else in this Town.

  50. 52 jezebel282

    George,

    “I appreciate that you and I can use hyperbole polemics
    to accentuate the point one is trying to make.”

    Thank you. I didn’t really mean EMS would run out of bandages, aspirin or gas. It was, ya know, “rhetorical”.

  51. 54 mikereynolds

    “Seriously? I don’t even know where to begin with this one. Oh wait! I know! How about: https://stratfordcharter.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/leaving-money-on-the-table/

    I’m surprised you went back to that. Those issues were when Donna and Jon had total control of EMS and there were staffing issues. You of all people should know that’s not the case anymore. Gavin himself posted either here or on Patch that Stratford EMS is covering more calls now than during the Best regime.

    “I want the finest EMS service possible. I don’t want some local politician using it as a piggy bank to make his budget numbers look good. Just like everything else in this Town.”

    And there is the crux of the issue. How can you claim that the town charging back EMS affects the level of care? What are you basing that on? How does an ambulance not get dispatched in a timely fashion because the HR department, Town Attorney’s office, or Finance department is charging back EMS? How is an EMT not getting trained or getting the proper equipment because of these charge backs? That’s what I need explained. And I don’t mean theoretically. I mean real data. After all, you’re the one insinuating that the level of care is degraded by this new policy. You don’t like it, I get it. But just because YOU don’t like doesn’t mean that it can’t work or that it affects the level of service EMS provides to the town.

  52. 55 1george1

    Mike,
    That is the best post I ever read from you.

    I expect that JEZE will be able to answer with the specifics that
    such a post deserves, IF JEZE has access to certain specific
    details.

    Sometimes, the town information is withheld.
    Sometimes town information is not credible.
    Such is my personal experience.
    Not that you would believe anything I write ….

    However you did a good job in phrasing and framing your post.
    Not that you will accept or appreciate my compliment.

  53. 56 jezebel282

    Mike,

    “I mean real data.”

    Councilmen can’t get up to date data from our Finance Department. Fiscal year 2012 Budget vs Actuals Report has not been updated since Oct 2011. I know I am good, but even I am not that good.

    I can only refer you to the rosy projections contained in http://www.townofstratford.com/Upload/147/16273/31499/79a_Emergency_Medical_Services_R_and_E.pdf

    It assumes “business” goes up by 22%. Pretty optimistic, don’t you think?

  54. 57 1george1

    Is Rosie Projections related to Rosie Scenarios?

    Has anyone ever explained the terms?
    1 – Voodoo Economics?
    2 – Fuzzy Math?

    Yo PORTIA …?


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