What's Buffardi's beef with REMS?
Rotterdam Supervisor Harry Buffardi seems determined to pull the plug on REMS, the longtime not-for-profit ambulance service that town residents prefer over the competing, privately run Mohawk Ambulance Service favored by Buffardi. He needs to make a clear case before awarding any contracts next month because going against REMS will surely put it out of business and annoy lots of townspeople.
In a cost-saving measure, the supervisor eliminated funding next year for the town’s mostly part-time paramedics that were paid through the police department budget but used for REMS’ advanced life-support calls.
So REMS said it would assume responsibility for the paramedics (though a number of them, having read the handwriting on the wall, moved on, which gave the town some cover to temporarily switch to Mohawk, pending the awarding of a new contract next month).
REMS had financial problems under prior management but seems to have gotten its house in order. Buffardi has complained that it wasn’t living up to its commitment to bill clients for life-support services (and reimburse the town), but this wouldn’t be an issue if the town were no longer paying for the paramedics.
The bottom line is residents like REMS’ service, and they’re nervous about Mohawk (which is a for-profit, private business); so why mess with success? Buffardi, who seems to have his mind made up, needs to give REMS a fair shake making its pitch; then he needs to weigh it honestly against Mohawk’s proposal. Whatever he decides, he’ll need to explain his decision more fully than he’s done thus far.