As if it isn’t bad enough that Gloucester Township has 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 the folks running Camden County’s third largest town just had to add more controversy. It’s like they can’t help themselves.
The latest controversy has to do with the Township’s Emergency Medical Services operation, or a possible lack of an operation. It appears the Township is ditching Gloucester Township EMS Alliance for American Medical Response. To be clear, Gloucester Township EMS Alliance is a non-profit contracted to provide Emergency Medical Services to Gloucester Township.
The issue was raised by a Township resident at a recent council meeting:
In the video above a resident asks about the Township being without ambulance service “for a couple of days.” The folks on the dais explained they were not at the level of service as agreed to in the contract and that services were provided by Virtua. It was also explained council was working towards a resolution.
Considering a lack of Emergency Medical Services could lead to a public safety issue, The Bob & Steve Show did some digging since being contacted about the issue more than a week ago. Here’s what we learned:
Francis Pagurek was the GTEMS Chief until recently. Word is he was fired, “let go,” or forced out. The thing is 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. In other words, he knows what he’s doing. In fact, Pagurek has saved GTEMS money by doing things like eliminating the weekend “power turck” last year, negotiating with the mayor to allow vehicles to be worked on at public works and he put the employees’ health insurance out to bid and increased the co-pay to save money. Despite all this there were claims the organization was still broke. The claim is when Pagurek asked where all the money he saved the organization was, he was “fired.”
Looking back at the video above it is interesting that the Township resident asking questions about the EMS situation was told they were working on a resolution. It’s interesting because, based on what we’ve been told and confirmed, at the GTEMS Christmas Party held at Villari’s over a week ago Jim Wintrode, the GTEMS Treasurer and Member of the Board of Directors, and Ray Curry, who we’re told is the President of GTEMS, but haven’t confirmed his title, were called away by Mayor David Mayer and told effective Monday American Medical Response (AMR) was taking over the Township’s EMS duties. It has been confirmed that AMR has taken over. Last Friday morning EMS employees were called to Erial station and told AMR was taking over and there would be a 30-day transition and all were welcome to apply.
The obvious question is if people were telling us AMR was taking over EMS in Gloucester Township since last week how is it Council only knew they were working on a resolution? How much did Council know and when did they know it? Also, why was Virtua good enough shirt-term, but long-term plans are for AMR to take over?
There is obviously an issue with transparency in Gloucester Township.
The Bob & Steve Show has received more information on the GTEMS situation we are working to confirm. This means there will likely be more to this story so stay tuned.