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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

Dear John letter

Posted by Joyce Clark on July 4, 2015
Posted in BlogsCity issue and actionsCity of Glendale  | Tagged With: , , | 4 Comments

Merged

I rarely receive email criticism for something I have said in my blog. Usually criticisms come in the form of comments to my current blog post for all to see.  When I have received an email of this kind I do not respond to the content but instead thank the writer, delete and do not accept any future emails from that sender. This time, I decided to share the email I received and my response. Here’s a peek inside my world.

Subject:           your latest rant

Date:               7/3/2015 1:30:05 P.M. US Mountain Standard Time

From:              johnglenn

To:                  clarkjv@aol.com

Joyce,

I probably shouldn’t dignify your latest blog with a response, however I do feel compelled to point out a few things.

When your campaign, in 2012, was floundering and you were being railroaded by just about everybody else around town it was George, Bea, Darren, Larry et al that stepped up and supported you and gave hundreds of hours trying to help right the ship that was your sinking re-election campaign. They knocked hundreds and hundreds of doors, others help you put out your own mail pieces, stuffed envelopes and even make calls to prospective voters. They all did this at a time when no one else was helping you, not even yourself. I recall times when some of them would go out hitting doors and you were in your living room watching Cardinals football. I know for a fact that Bea & George’s business took a back seat to all the doings the summer / fall of 2012 including your campaign. Bea even was tailed by a nefarious individual that they can only guess was associated with your opponent. 

Everyone made these sacrifices, YES because of the hockey team but also they believed in you and that you were fighting for the best possible outcome for the city when faced with some bleak choices. The ship was sinking in Glendale and all your colleagues were getting off the boat; however you choose to stay on the boat and the group probably felt that was admirable. 

I just think you stepped way over a line by throwing them under the bus today and demonstrated a lack of class, I can’t help but think karma will come back on you somehow…maybe it already has… 

I can’t even surmise what your motivations were other than you’re desperate to stay relevant, at least that’s what it looks like from my vantage point. 

I’m sure your decades of public service has been beneficial to the City of Glendale, but to go out like this in such a classless manner probably taints all the good you have done for the city. 

You have successfully made me lose faith in the basic human dignity because each and every one of those people that you threw under the bus deserve your basic respect as they worked their asses off for you.  
John Glenn

My response:

John,

I’ll first observe that your subject title is tremendously prejudiced. It implies that you consider all of my blogs to be “rants.” Then you proceed to write your own “rant.”

Let me point out that insults are not facts. George, Bea, and others, quite simply used me to access Greg Jamison at a time when he appeared to be the ultimate purchaser of the team. It was quid pro quo. They used me and I used them. Most involved were happy to champion me because I was in line at the time with the others voting to keep the Coyotes but they knew nothing of what I stood for or believed in. You used me while helping my opponent.

It was a difficult election cycle as my knee was bad and my doc forbid me from walking door to door. Many helped with that for qualifying signatures. As soon as the referendum action began the only persons who helped me were Dawn and Darren. I am eternally grateful for their help.

No one made “sacrifices.” Everyone had a motive. Each motive was different. In many cases, it was to be an “insider” after the Jamison deal was consummated. I remember Dawn relating to me that she had questioned you (as an active insider in the Democrat party) the day we met. She asked you  about all the lies Alvarez and Chavira and the Democratic party were using against me and you replied, “that’s just politics.” I think your email to me is also your idea of politics.

You excoriate me for “crossing a line” so I assume you have taken the Coyotes group to task for their behavior too; those who regularly insult me, call me a raving lunatic and suggest they wish some kind of harm befall me, as you did in your comment about Karma – simply because of a disagreement of thought. My first and ultimate allegiance is to Glendale and keeping it a viable and vibrant community.

You are a very good Democrat, John. You know the strategy to malign and insult, call names and make outrageous statements like, “karma may have already gotten you” but perhaps not good enough to avoid being classless. Your obvious lack of respect for a female and one old enough to be your mother highlights you weren’t paying attention when your mother taught you manners.

Since this blog began the excoriation I’ve received because I have a different opinion has perplexed me. If people do not like what I am saying in my blog it’s really quite simple. They can acknowledge that I have changed my position; they don’t like it and are no longer going to read or follow me.

Larry Feiner’s and Bea Wyatt’s credibility as spokespersons for the current recall effort is a legitimate question for public consideration in the light of their own financial dealings. They willingly placed themselves there just as I have repeatedly done, and must now suffer the attention that comes with it.

Now, in the words of those you defend in calling me a “bitter, distraught woman,” you believe I have destroyed “your faith in human dignity.” I’m stunned that with your obvious lack of respect, you have bestowed me with the power to do something so dramatic. What a shame you laid that on me when you have so many other people from which to choose.  

Joyce

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Merged

It has been 17 years and 182 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Is the current recall effort by Glendale First! justified? It depends. If you are an avid hockey fan it is. Glendale First! is sponsoring two recently formed political committees, Recall Bart Turner and Recall Lauren Tolmachoff. The Recall Lauren Tolmachoff Committee is being led by Bill and Jennifer Eikost, Cholla district residents. I know them personally. They are friends and remain as friends even though I vehemently disagree with their current action. The Recall Bart Turner Committee is being led by Ben Shroyer and Paul Miller, Barrell district residents. All of these folks are not only hockey fans but some of them are season ticket holders. There is nothing wrong with that. However their current actions need to be viewed in the context of keeping hockey in Glendale’s arena by any manner and at any cost.

Glendale First! has had little success so far seeking individuals from the Cactus and Ocotillo districts to form political committees to recall Vice Mayor Ian Hugh and Councilmember Aldama as well. These districts tend to have lower socio-economic demographics and Glendale service cuts are viewed as being caused by the expense of the hockey lease contract.

This avid hockey fan group is angry with a city council that voted 5-2 to cancel a contract that requires payment of $15M annually as part of a lease management agreement for Glendale’s arena with IceArizona. But mounting a recall because they are mad about the contract cancellation won’t get them very far in Glendale as a majority of Glendale’s residents support the action. Strategically they needed another reason for the recall. What better diversion than to conveniently claim mismanagement of Glendale’s revenues by the mayor and only the 4 councilmembers that voted to cancel the contract.

So what exactly is the basis for Glendale First’s! allegation of council fiscal mismanagement? We have to go back a bit. The state legislature passed SB 1609 which made substantial changes to the Public Safety Public Retirement System (PSPRS) as it went into effect in June of 2011. Subsequently SB 1609 was challenged in Superior Court with a ruling in January of 2015 rolling back specific provisions within SB1609. The result is that Glendale (as well as all other participating cities) can expect additional expense per year to the PSPRC of an estimated $4 million (amount varies by city) and it takes effect in Fiscal Year 2016-17.

There were two options available to the city to deal with the increased expense to the PSPRS. thNM5RBIVGOne option was to pay as little as possible into the fund initially but it would require higher contributions in future years. The other option was to bite the bullet, add an additional $3.5 million as Glendale’s payment in Fiscal Year 2015-16. This would allow Glendale to increase its fund status (put more money in its PSPRC bank) and result in lower annual contributions in future years. Council’s policy decision was to choose the option of putting $3.5 million into the fund now. It was a prudent decision. It resulted in $3.5 million of General Fund dollars going to shore up Glendale’s PSPRC account.

Glendale First!, aided and abetted by the Glendale fire union, then accused the city council of mismanagement by not using that $3.5M of General Fund revenues for public safety. Apparently they don’t care about the city’s bond ratings and the fact that the bond agencies base part of their ratings on the cushion (contingency) a city has in reserve.

The fire union was not happy with the council’s decision for it wanted the $3.5 million dollars allocated to the fire department now. Hence we saw the media stories planted by the fire union claiming that its response times were alarming and a threat to public safety equal to that of a nuclear bomb. Keep in mind fire response times according to newly retired Fire Chief Burdick have remained at the same level over the past 5 years. The unacknowledged part of Glendale fire’s problem is that it is responding to more uncompensated calls outside of the city than ever before due to automatic aid. Therefore the closer Glendale fire units are not available partly resulting in extended response times. ( See earlier Automatic Aid, Parts 1-3 blogs)

The fire union and Glendale First! seem to have joined forces once again. They have a history of having worked together on previous Glendale issues. They worked together to insure the passage and retention of the temporary sales tax (now permanent).

This is from a former edition of the Glendale First! website: “Glendale First! is a grassroots citizen action group that was originally formed in 2012 as a political action committee in opposition to a referendum (R-12-01) that would have resulted in the Phoenix Coyotes leaving Glendale.” It went on to say, “Now that a long term arena management agreement is in place and the future of Westgate and the Coyotes is assured, it’s time to expand our efforts in Glendale. One can clearly see that Glendale First’s! agenda is in keeping the Coyotes in Glendale.

The concerted efforts of Glendale First! were instrumental in defeating three referendums aimed at disallowing arena management use agreements between the City of Glendale and various parties. We were also deeply involved in opposition of the Proposition 457 ballot measure.”

The agenda of keeping hockey in Glendale cost money. It appears that Bea Wyatt and her partner, George Fallar, expended as much as $11,000 of their personal funds, over time, to keep hockey in Glendale.

Despite those who are on the paperwork for each recall committee the two most visible spokespersons for this effort have been Bea Wyatt and Larry Feiner. Both are principals in thethN2BQ31YA Glendale First! organization and in the Desert Hockey Development organization. Both have been quoted in the media and have participated in radio interviews. They are now public figures and as public figures if there are skeletons in either person’s closet they are sure to be discovered as in the case of Larry Feiner.

Mismanagement of Glendale’s money? I’m sure Mr. Feiner has heard the old adage, “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” Because when it comes to mismanagement of money I’m not certain he is a position to throw stones. Mr. Feiner’s financial track record isn’t one that any person or institution should emulate.

I received an email recently advising me to go to this site. To my surprise this is what I found following this link: http://recorder.maricopa.gov/recdocdata/GetRecDataPaging.aspx?biz1=&biz2=&fn1=Lawrence&mn1=&ln1=Feiner&fn2=&mn2=&ln2=&begdt=1/1/1947&enddt=6/30/2015&doc1=&doc2=&doc3=&doc4=&doc5=   Mr. Feiner owed property taxes for the years 2006 – 2010 in the amount of $11,041.54. Those taxes were recorded as paid by the Maricopa County Recorder and the property liens released on March 3, 2011.

It’s a little different with Mr. Feiner’s federal income taxes however. Apparently he owes Uncle Sam $169,072.70 and there is no record of payment filed as of this date available on the Maricopa County Recorder’s website. Perhaps Mr. Feiner was not Glendale First’s! finest choice as a spokesperson to allege mismanagement of money.

On the same former edition of Glendale First’s! website it goes on to say, “Glendale First! and it’s members remain extremely active in the community, including founding the Desert Hockey Development organization pledged to give back to Glendale while growing the sport of hockey.”

“We are planning a series of fundraising events to, hopefully, retire the debt the committee incurred during the successful opposition to all of the anti-Coyotes referendums. We are proud to be a partner of Desert hockey Development in their inaugural Grow The Game Classic golf tournament to be held June 14, in Glendale, at The Legend at Arrowhead.”

One may assume that the debt the committee incurred in opposition to anti-Coyote efforts thW4CCRYSMwas in part, an estimated $11,000 personally spent by Bea Wyatt and George Fallar. It may be fair to ask how much of the money raised from this golf tournament went to reimburse Fallar and Wyatt. If they did receive reimbursement from a golf tournament primarily publicized as a fund raising event for Desert Hockey Development didn’t they, in essence, do the very same thing that Bea Wyatt has accused the 2 councilmembers under threat of recall of doing? Instead of using all of the funds raised for Desert Hockey from the golf tournament was part of that money used to retire previous debts including that of George Fallar and Bea Wyatt? Are we witnesses of the case of the pots (Feiner and Wyatt) calling the kettle (councilmembers) black??

 

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

If you are a Glendale resident who follows my blog and if you have family members, friends, acquaintances or neighbors who would benefit from knowing what is happening in our community please take a moment to send them a link to my site: http://joyceclarkunfiltered.com . Thank you.

The concept of automatic aid was discussed in Part 1 of this blog. In Part 2, reform issues related to automatic aid were identified. In this part, Part 3, we’ll look at the issue of ambulance service and the demands on public safety of further future annexations by Glendale.

Ambulance service is currently provided in Glendale by Southwest Ambulance (SW), a subsidiary of Rural Metro Corporation, a national company. Sterling Fluharty of the June 2, 2015 edition of the Glendale Star has a good explanation of the relationship between the city and SW Ambulance. Here is the link: http://www.glendalestar.com/news/article_2edd3a9e-098a-11e5-9695-a7b1941abca4.html . It’s a “he said, she said” kind of fight between the city and SW. Each claims the other owes it money. However, one has every right to wonder if the city is dragging its feet in the negotiation of a new contract with SW while it is at the same time securing its own Certificate of Necessity (CON) with the Arizona Health Department. A CON allows an entity to provide ambulance and associated medical services subject to the requirements imposed by the Arizona Health Department. There is another provider available, American Medical Response (AMR), who has just been awarded a Certificate of Necessity (CON) for all of Maricopa County by the Arizona Health Department.

Glendale Fire Chief Mark Burdick in a February 3, 2015 presentation to city council said, “In 2011, AMR proposed replacing the fire department as a primary emergency medical service provider in Dallas, Cincinnati, and Los Angeles, which forced city councils to choose between the fire department and AMR. Their proposal included removing paramedics from fire trucks while utilizing the fire department units to respond and deliver primary service including patient extrication, treatment, and packaging, while the ambulance would only transport and collect all revenue. This proposal places a majority of the cost on the local government, while allowing the ambulance company to collect all profit.” Since he made those remarks Dallas and Los Angeles have contracted with AMR and Cincinnati has not.

City council would be well served to start over and reissue a Request for Service for ambulance service provision.  It is expected that the city would receive bids from Southwest Ambulance, Rural Metro, Phoenix Medical Transport and American Medical Response. After the bids are received staff should present to council the cost implications of all bids to provide ambulance service as well as the investment and on-going costs associated with the city establishing its own ambulance service. The estimated initial start up costs for the city fire department to provide ambulance service would be approximately $1.6 million dollars to cover the purchase of 4 new ambulances at $210,000 each and $760,000 in personnel costs…and that’s just the first year. If staff claims that the cost of city provided ambulance service will pay for itself – council beware. If I had a dollar for every time I heard that claim from staff I would be very rich indeed. Council should then make the decision based upon what provider is both cost effective and efficient for the residents of Glendale. At least ambulance service is not covered by automatic aid so Glendale will not be sending its ambulance service out of town.

Annexation of land to the west of the Loop 101 presents another set of issues for the city regarding public safety. The city’s current annexation policy requires that the entity seeking annexation secure its own water and sewer service from local providers other than the city. The city does not have the necessary water and sewer infrastructure to accommodate new annexations. While that is an excellent solution for the utility issue provision, police and fire provision will be an issue – a costly issue.

There are 3 possible options for police service: 1. Traditional service which would include the capital cost of building a Westside substation; 2. Contract with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office which does not require any capital construction costs or 3. Contract with an alternative service provider which also does not require any capital construction costs.

There are 3 options for fire service as well: 1. Create a county island fire district; 2. Traditional service which would include the capital cost of building an additional fire station; or 3. Contract with an alternative service provider such as Rural Metro which does not require any capital construction costs. Perhaps, just perhaps, some of the inequity in fire emergency response (not ambulance service) would be mitigated if other, closer jurisdictions ended up responding to newly annexed areas. City council must consider the cost implications of annexing more land into Glendale until such time as Glendale’s finances can accommodate the additional costs.

The bottom line is these issues impact the public’s health and safety. Council is mandated to look at this issue very carefully while considering the cost to taxpayers. Sometimes we want a Cadillac when a Ford will do.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

If you are a Glendale resident who follows my blog and if you have family members, friends, acquaintances or neighbors who would benefit from knowing what is happening in our community please take a moment to send them a link to my site: http://joyceclarkunfiltered.com . Thank you.

The first part of this series on automatic aid explained the concept and how it is set up. This part will look at those components of the system in need of reform: reimbursement and staffing levels.

Section 9.L. of the automatic aid agreement states, “Participants agree that automatic aid is reciprocal. While automatic aid does not ensure that a community will receive the exact same amount of assistance as it gives, it does mean that all participants will provide assistance outside its jurisdictional boundaries and that the level of service delivered within the Automatic Aid System will be comparable.”

Section 11 says, “Except as specifically agreed to by both parties for a particular incident, neither party shall be reimbursed by the other party for any costs incurred pursuant to this agreement. In the event of Declared Disasters, participants may apply for reimbursements from County, State and Federal agencies.”

This agreement acknowledges that some governmental agencies will send more aid than will be received and mandates that the level of service provided will be comparable. There is no acknowledgement of reimbursement in the amount of service provided by one agency to another. It goes on to specifically mandate that there will be no reimbursement from one agency to another.

Here is the problem with those concepts. In information provided by Glendale Fire Department’s Assistant Chief DeChant (now Acting Chief) in 2014 for Fiscal Year 2012-13 Glendale provided automatic aid outside of Glendale for 5,583 calls. It received automatic aid within Glendale from other jurisdictions for 3,361 calls. Glendale answered 2,222 more calls for service outside of its city limits in FY 2012-13 than it received from other jurisdictions. Glendale per the automatic aid agreement was not reimbursed for any of those 2,222 calls representing an imbalance in reciprocity. According to a recent Arizona Republic story that number rose in FY 2014-15 to a disparity of 3,800 calls, unreciprocated, made by Glendale outside of its boundaries.

It is impossible to accurately determine the cost of sending a large engine or ladder truck to an emergency call. Internet researched numbers vary from a low of $400 to a high of $1200 per call. For purposes of this discussion I chose a number in the middle – $800 per call. This number would reflect the salaries and benefits of personnel, the use of a ladder truck or engine answering calls 90% of which are medical, the fuel cost and the maintenance cost of the vehicle.  If you multiply the excess number of calls made outside of its boundaries in FY 2012-13 which is 2,222 by $800 per call the total is $1,777,600 dollars. $1.7M is a fair estimate of the expense to Glendale taxpayers in FY 2012-13 to answer more calls outside of Glendale than are received inside of Glendale due to automatic aid. Does that seem equitable to you?

Apparently in 2013 when the Sun City West Fire District was attempting land annexation within the City of Peoria, Peoria’s Fire Chief Bobby Ruiz raised the very issue of equitable automatic aid service. A Peoria Times story in June, 2013, reported, “Peoria Fire Chief Bobby Ruiz was on the ground floor in the 1980s, when the fire departments of Glendale, Phoenix and Tempe came together to form the automatic aid system with Phoenix being central dispatch. Under that system, whichever fire engine or paramedic truck was closest to an incident, it would automatically respond first.”

“Then, it would eliminate building duplicate fire stations across the street from each other,” Ruiz said. “It’s always been the intent of cities to provide fire, life safety, and medical services within their own jurisdiction. So, being comparable, it would be equitable.”

“In Sun City West Fire District, in the last calendar year, we responded 62 times, they responded 32 times” to parcels in the SCWFD covered district, Ruiz said. “It’s still understood one jurisdiction should not benefit from another district.” Sun City West Fire District Assistant Fire Chief Mary Dalton responded to Ruiz by pointing out, “In 2012 alone, Peoria residents were the beneficiaries of more than 4,500 calls for 9-1-1 service answered by neighboring fire departments. However, Peoria emergency units only assisted their neighboring jurisdictions roughly 2,700 times.”

Here’s something else to think about. Automatic aid may be putting pressure on the response times of all jurisdictions. Let’s imagine that you live down the street from a fire station. It’s very comforting to think that should you need emergency medical service the response would be very fast, maybe 2 or 3 minutes from time of dispatch to your home. Not so fast. What if that station is answering another call…in Peoria or Phoenix? The next closest unit would be dispatched and it is possible that it would take the unit more time to arrive at your home. It’s an issue to think about if you are the one with the medical emergency.

In Section 3 of the automatic aid agreement it states, “It is agreed that the scope of this agreement includes automatic assistance in responding to fires, medical emergencies, hazardous materials incidents, rescue and extrication situations and other types of emergency incidents that are within the standard scope of services provided by fire departments in the Automatic Aid System.” What type of vehicular equipment does the Glendale fire department utilize to answer medical emergencies? It uses large engine or ladder trucks with 4 personnel on board.

Section 9. I. of the agreement states, “System participants recognize the importance of service delivery and personnel safety issues. The minimum daily staffing level for engines and ladders shall be four members. Henceforth this will be referred to as full staffing. Engine and ladder staffing may be reduced to three trained personnel for short periods of time as established by the Life Safety Council throughout a 24 hour shift. Departments that enter the system with a staffing level of three members on each engine and/or ladder shall have an active plan to accomplish full staffing within one year of entry.”

Section 9. P. says, “System participants agree that full staffing as described in NFPA 1710 on engines and ladders provides the most efficient and effective personnel safety and service delivery to the public. Staffing engines and ladders with less than full staffing has financial implications to neighboring jurisdictions, the system as a whole, and the public. Before June 30, 2016, participants that reduce staffing below full staffing shall be subject to financial considerations intended to make the system whole. After June 30, 2016, participants that reduce staffing below full staffing shall no longer be members of the automatic aid system.”

The issue is not the use of a large truck with 4 personnel when responding to a fire. Even as a non fire call expert one recognizes the need and necessity for large equipment to respond to fires. No, the issue with automatic aid is the tremendous number of emergency medical calls.

An estimated 90% of all calls to which Glendale fire responds are medical emergencies. The following information was provided by Acting Chief Chris DeChant in 2014 (then Assistant Chief) in my request for information after attending the first public session of the department’s Customer Based Strategic Planning exercise: “In FY 2012-13 the total number of medical calls in Glendale was 23,824 and the total fire calls were 2,222.” Why is it necessary to send a large engine or ladder truck with 4 personnel to over 23,000 medical calls?

Just think of the costs involved. If I remember correctly these large vehicles get about 4 or 5 miles to the gallon. Think of the wear and tear sending these vehicles to thousands of medical emergencies annually and the maintenance costs associated along with the salaries and benefits paid for 4 personnel. Typically one or two personnel on these vehicles have either Advanced Life Support (ALS) or Basic Life Support (BLS) certification and the other two personnel do not.

How much money could a municipality save in using smaller vehicles with just 2 ALS or BLS paramedic personnel on board? Mesa is attempting to find out despite the threat of a hammer in Section 9.P of the automatic aid agreement. At the 2013 California Fire Chiefs Association Annual Conference Mesa Fire Chief Harry Beck and Mesa Medical Director Doctor Gary Smith presented The Horizon of Fire-Based EMS. Here is the link to their presentation: Mesa EMS costs .  It is interesting and well worth reading. In it Mesa outlines the current pressures on traditional fire-based medical service call delivery. Mesa is using 4 Transitional Response Vehicles (TRV) staffed with an EMT Captain and an Advanced Life Support (ALS) firefighter. It is a concept whose time has come and makes a great deal of sense in terms of cost savings to the community as well as providing efficient medical service delivery. Mesa’s concept flies in the face of the currently mandated stipulations within the automatic aid agreement that acknowledges the use of fire engines and ladders to respond to all calls, including medical calls. If you reread sections 9.I. and 9.P. cited above it appears to be a preemptive strike to prevent Mesa from moving forward with the concept.

After the council’s vacation this July Glendale staff will make a presentation on public safety needs. It would be wise if this council requested to hear a presentation from the Mesa Fire Department and its use of Transitional Response Vehicles (TRV) in responding to medical emergencies. If it has proven itself in Mesa perhaps it is time for Glendale to adopt Mesa’s model. Perhaps the $3M+ the Glendale Fire Department is seeking would be better spent in the development of an alternative medical emergency response approach. After its initial investment it would create cost savings for Glendale’s taxpayers with more effective service.

Then there is the question of lack of a reimbursement scheme within the current automatic aid agreement. It is not equitable that some jurisdictions, such as Glendale, require their taxpayers to subsidize thousands of emergency medical responses to its neighboring jurisdictions. The imbalance has become far too great and far too costly in a time when dollars are so important to every governmental agency. Council should direct staff to begin this conversation of reimbursement with other participating automatic aid agencies. It is an issue whose time has come.

Automatic aid is an essential component of fire delivery service in the Valley. It should not be scrapped but it can be made better. Participating jurisdictions have got to look at the imbalances and inequities within the system and address a means of restoring equity between agencies. They also must recognize that using large trucks with 4 personnel for a majority of calls that are medical is not cost efficient or effective and develop a new model to respond to those types of calls. A system created 40 years ago can certainly use some reform.

In Part 3, automatic aid gives rise to the questions surrounding ambulance service and annexation issues – related issues for your consideration.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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