|Nazareth Ambulance's Mike Snyder|
Two weeks ago, Nazareth paramedic Mike Snyder argued that, if the County awarded a new contract to Lifestar, it would be a "death blow to our ambulance corps." Because Nazareth paramedics actually know the Gracedale residents and even have family members among them, he successfully persuaded a unanimous Council to table a resolution that would have awarded the bid to Lifestar.
At tonight's Council meeting, Gracedale Administrator Millard "D" Freeman renewed his pitch to award a new and cheaper contract to Lifestar. "We're working very hard to save you a little bit of money with each contract," he noted, adding that Nazareth Ambulance would still get approximately 1,100 ("don't quote me") calls every year. He noted that there are just as many Lifestar employees living in Nazareth and they have family at the County nursing home, too. But what makes Lifestar even more attractive to Freeman is its ability to handle unlimited transports with its own staff, which would ease his manpower burden.
Council members Scott Parsons and Bob Werner met with Gracedale administrators over the past two weeks, and came away convinced that it's time for a change.
"It was an upfront deal." said Parsons. "This is a tough one, guys. You don't like to see Nazareth lose this thing. ... It comes down to dollars and cents."
But Council member Peg Ferraro urged her colleagues to "look at this from a human point of view and not a dollars and cents point of view." One of those colleagues Bruce Gilbert, worried that a switch would have an "an ill effect on the surrounding neighborhood."
In the end, six Council members - Bruce Gilbert, Ken Kraft, Lamont McClure, Barb Thierry, Tom Dietrich & Peg Ferraro - refused to award the contract to Lifestar. Immediately after that rejection, they adopted a resolution awarding the job to Nazareth.
One big difference between Nazareth and Lifestar, and something that administrators failed to consider in the bidding process, is that Nazareth, unlike Lifestar, is a public non-profit. It's not in it for the money.
Blogger's Note: I decided to cover this meeting via the livestream instead of in person. It was excellent quality.