Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Will the ambulance come when you call.

BY Terry Bankert http://attorneybankert.com/

About 50 Flint firefighters and a 100 other citizens today at the Genesee County Board of Commissioners meeting spoke to block a proposal for the county to take over paramedic runs inside the city. Are you concerned an ambulance will come to your home in Flint if the county controls the ambulance dispatch?

Get involved in the debate under way over the future of Flint's paramedic service. “The sheriff ( Robert Pickell)says it's time for Genesee County to take over. The county gives the Flint Fire Department roughly $700,000 a year for paramedic service within the city.That millage agreement has been in place for almost 20 years. "

"But Sheriff Robert Pickell wants to end it.”

I attended part of this meeting and took a couple of pictures and videos.

Thumbnail http://www.flickr.com/photos/30366181@N05/sets/72157613331313232/

Slide Show http://www.flickr.com/photos/30366181@N05/sets/72157613331313232/show/

"We feel like no one can give the service we give," said Raymond Barton, president of the Flint firefighters union. "We do this service with pride."

“County Sheriff Robert J. Pickell today proposed changing the arrangement that had sent paramedic millage money to the city of Flint in return for the fire department making medical runs in the city. That arrangement has been in place since at least 1990.Pickell said he would hire at least seven additional paramedics with the property tax money.”

Several paramedics and firefighters were addressing commissioners in advance of the board considering the proposal. A similar plan died less than two ago after initially being approved by the commissioners. Members then became increasingly worried that the expansion might bankrupt the county's paramedic program. The Flint ambulance community argues Pickell is trying to grab all the money in this county for his program .“

One of Flint County Commissioners seems to be siding with Pickell. "All I know is that when a call goes out in a district that I represent, there's a time lapse," said County Commissioner Omar Sims. Sims wants the city to explain how it's spending the $700,000 in millage money it gets every year for EMS. "In tough times, people have to be accountable," Sims said.”

One citizen posted on the mlive article and stated”Furthermore, don't ever think that the Flint firemen should be set aside. They do the City of Flint a great service. They are sometimes the first on scene. Whether it’s a medical or a fire. ( to a critic of Flint) You obviously don't live in the City or have ever required fire/ems service. Two thumbs up for Flint Fire.( Not )Centralized EMS - please lets cost this county more money that we don't have to bring in one ambulance service that will end up charging the county to run its service here.... No one works for free.

The balancing act of efficiency ( cost)and effectiveness ( saving lives) will determine the analyst viability of Centralized ambulance services. Lives , turf and political power are at stake. This is an issue worth of your attention. "Was the system broken somehow? Was there some reason the sheriff decided to take it over now?" said Flint firefighter Rico Phillips.”

“Tuesday, commissioners voted to postpone debate until a committee meeting on Feb. 18.”

As a Flint taxpayer residential and business I am very interested in this issue. I am looking for a full debate. Lives are at stake here I believe voters need to be convinced that if a Sheriff or County Commission controls dispatch of all ambulance services will it improve response times to Flint poor and elderly.

Convince us Sheriff. Lets have active discussion , involve the community.

The last thing this issue need is power politics.

Just where were our city leaders at this meeting and will the commissioners from Flint seek our comment?

Is this the first step of county consolidation and centralization of services? Will this centralization led to a county executive.

If yes is this good for the citizens of Flint?

Posted Here by Terry Bankert

You are invited to continue this discussion on Face Book http://www.facebook.com/people/Terry-Bankert/645845362

- http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2009/02/flint_firefighters_oppose_coun.html

- http://abclocal.go.com/wjrt/story?section=news/local&id=6639260

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