Gloucester Township, Camden County’s third largest municipality, has issues, some of them covered right here on The Bob & Steve Show blog, an assistant store manager from the Deptford Mall as its communications director, a newly elected school board member with connections to an “adult superstore” and the fact the newly elected school board member didn’t even live in town when he got elected now the governing body has been forced to deal with controversy with the township’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
Typically, this is where I would have some unkind words for the governing body in their handling of the situation, but no matter how hard I try I can’t. Mayor David Mayer will likely fall out of his chair when he reads this part of this post, but he actually did the right thing dumping the Gloucester Township EMS Alliance in favor of American Medical Response before the 30-day transition period ended.
With that said, I have been told the board of the Gloucester Township EMS Alliance are Mayer’s people, which may be true, but I cannot confirm and I certainly cannot make the argument that he is the reason they got the contract in the first place, no matter how many emails the show has received making that argument.
Folks tried to tell me that dumping the Gloucester Township EMS Alliance was the beginning of the Democrats getting Cooper Hospital into Gloucester Township. That’s completely untrue because Cooper is having trouble staffing BLS units in Camden City, proving Camden County Republicans were right when they fought against the bill that gave Cooper Hospital control over ambulance service in Camden.
Here’s what we do know. The Gloucester Township EMS Alliance should have never dumped Francis Pagurek. He knew what he was doing, saved the Alliance money, kept things running well, but asked too many questions. Pagurek is well-known in the EMS community and has been named “Outstanding EMS Administrator” by the New Jersey Statewide Conference on EMS in the past. No one has argued that the Alliance started going downhill after they dumped him a year ago.
There were serious issues with the mismanagement of money at the Gloucester Township EMS Alliance (questions that were raised by Pagurek). They guy who became acting chief is/was a board member of the Alliance, is a retired accountant (and a paramedic) and his daughter works/worked in the office. The board’s president’s wife worked in the office too. These connections, of course lead to the question, who was watching the money?
Where indeed did the money go? Several sources have told The Bob & Steve Show the Board of Directors of the Gloucester Township EMS Alliance helped an Assistant Director (to the chief) pay for her divorce attorney and new tires for her car. Additionally, we’ve been told now that the Alliance is essentially out of business the same Assistant Director is being “gifted” a command vehicle.
In an odd twist, The Bob & Steve Show has learned the Assistant Director in question was a retail manager before getting hired as an Assistant Director at the Alliance. Remember, the Gloucester Township communications director’s last job before joining the township was assistant manager at a retail store. Maybe a career in retail is the way to get noticed for a position of influence in Gloucester Township.
So, yeah, it looks like it might be a good thing American Medical Response has taken over EMS in Gloucester Township. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.