Lakewood Begins To Talk With EMS Union, Langert Says: No One In My Family Will Gain If We Privatize The Department

EMS sign in snow_wmFor the first time since announcing their intention to dissolve the Emergency Medical Services Department late last year, township officials have started negotiations with the EMS union, signaling new hope for some 28 employees facing layoffs. “We have a dialogue with the township at this time, which there hadn’t been before, so that’s good news,” said Shannon Ortiz, of Local 380 of the Firemen’s Mutual Benevolent Association union. The cost-cutting decision to seek an outside first aid company to replace the¬†EMS after 30 years has been met with some backlash, primarily from senior citizens.

Also, a major medical supplies company in Lakewood sent a letter to the Township Committee in December pledging to donate a year’s worth of supplies if the EMS unit stays.

“Lakewood Township EMS has survived many previous recessions,” Michael Einhorn, president of Dealmed Inc., wrote in the letter. “I believe collectively we can overcome these financial challenges, and we are here to help.”

Township officials, citing a $770,000 EMS budget deficit last year, contend a privatization would save between $800,000 to $1 million. Between 10 and 12 part-time and 16 full-time workers would lose their jobs. Contract proposals from the handful of ambulance companies in the area are due next week.

The EMS only provides basic life support services. Life-threatening emergencies are handled by MONOC, a private ambulance company.

Yet, EMS Supervisor Scott Carter stressed the importance of having responders with 30 years’ experience in Lakewood to handle the complexities of this diverse and largely religious town.

For example, “there’s an understanding of the Sabbath on Saturday and how we can and cannot handle certain things,” Carter said, referring to the Jewish day of rest that prohibits observant Jews from operating such items as electronics or phones. “Our staff is trained specifically to the needs of Lakewood.”

Mayor Steven Langert said the committee will take that issue into consideration. Langert also rejected rumors that a relative of his operated an ambulance company that stood to benefit from removing the EMS department.

“There is no member of my immediate family, whether it is a brother, sister, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, uncle, aunt, cousin or any relative of mine that I can think of who owns an ambulance company, and as far as I know, there is no one in my family who will gain if we privatize the EMS Department,” he said in a local news publication.

The only committee member likely to recuse himself from a vote on privatization is Robert W. Singer, a Republican state senator who has ties to Kimball Medical Center, which is in the township and uses MONOC paramedics. Zach Patperg/APP

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22 COMMENTS

  1. it broke my heart to see that woman (ems) break down at the inaguration i hope they keep their jobs and if g-d forbid lose it i hope they find a job with even higher pay

  2. Our taxes are out of control. We have to save $ where we can. Although the good people of the EMS don’t deserve to be laid off, the government is not a charity.

  3. Putting emotions aside, there isn’t a single reason to keep the EMS active. They get paid more then double what any of the local private companies pay. And if they’re as dedicated as they say they are, and if they are as concerned about the quality of care dropping as they say they are, let them get a job with whatever company gets the bid for $11-$13 an hour instead of the $25+ they get now with benefits.
    And this shouldn’t be the end either. The township should privatize many other departments as well. Municipal employees get paid well over industry averages and frankly, we the taxpayers end up being the victims of their unions extortion.

  4. were they concerned about their jobs when they were doing doughnuts in the parking lot last year or when they called public works during the recent snow storm to hurry up and plow the driveway so they can make a pizza run??

  5. Fact – Public record payroll for Shannon Ortiz $(moderated). To do basic first aid. We have ALS and Paramed’s across the state that don’t make that kind of $. Plus all the paid Twp holiday’s, vacation and retirement plan. Wake up taxpayers.

  6. Wow, You call what these people do BASIC first aid!! You need to wake up, who is the first one to come to your house and help you when you call 911? Who is the one who decides if you really have a medical emergency? Who is the one that cuts you out of a vehicle if you crash it? Who is the one that can deliver babies? Who can bring someone back to life if they have stopped breathing? WOW to me they are all skills Lakewood EMS can do. They dont sound like BASIC first aid as you put it. How about you look up some other figures on your little computer?? How much does it cost for the many lives that department has saved?? I take it from your writings on here you have never had to use an ambulance or if you have you are one of those people that just expect things. I have had to use an ambulance and there is no price tag I could put on the care i received from that dept. I want someone here who can get to our houses fast. I dont care about their salaries, their salaries are less than 1% of our WHOLE budget, amazing how you worry about this little fraction of a cost in which they actually give something back to the community. And why should they be compared to outside companies, outside companies do TRANSPORT not EMS. I dont know about you but if i had my choice of someone with 30 years experience or brand new i would take the experience.

  7. When you need the EMS and I hope you never do. You will see a huge difference in that of Lakewood & a private company. Before I moved to Lakewood I had to call for first aid due to chest pains. After the private company got to my house they treated me like a piece of dirt. There was no carefulness in putting me on the stretcher. A few years after moving to Lakewood I had chest pains again. Totally different experience with the Lakewood EMS. very professional and more important careful. It has reminded me of an old saying you get what you pay for. Please think of how much of your tax dollar goes to the EMS is your life not worth it. That tax will not go away if they go private. If Lakewood does go private would any body be interested in buying a house in Lakewood?

  8. This is great news that Dealmed Inc. the local medical supplies company is helping out the Lakewood EMS is hard times, this is what i call a real company. i saw they have a nice website as well for those who have online access its http://www.dealmed.com
    Thank You so much

  9. How come i dont hear anyone screaming about the cops in this town who make over $90,000 after just 5 years and city cops prob make half of that?? Because we know they are under paid and cops should make real money. Same thing with ems, most are under paid these guys make what they should and i for one am happy to let my tax money go to them. And just one more thought they are blaming this on all the tax appeals. did they forget that they are raising our tax rate this year which will close that gap???

  10. u ever stand by the roadside w/LWD drivers blowing through a work zone. No one has been killed but several near misses. We have people driving through safety cones/barrels, trying to squeeze past trucks while u are picking up cans. Walk a day in our shoes and u can see the abuse and disrespect we get from the public at large. Yeah we don’ t perform a gamorous job like our hero’s in the PD or EMS, but we do perform vital services.

  11. some people need to stop posting about things they do not know…# 2 the ems dept has been working for the townshio for 30 years and thats why saleries have gotten to the point they are at, surrounding towns at most have 10 years with paid ems..# 4 the ems department knows the township is not a charitym the township approved all the previous contracts with these employees..#6 enough with the snow incident already..#5 the ems department handles approx 95% of the calls with out need of MONOC..congrats to dealmed for stepping up to support the ems dept this a real township friend.

  12. i think this ems company is a joke and a rip off i had a car accident not to long ago and all i did was take a ride to kmc only a ride cause i wasnt on a stretcher and they tried to charge me 300 plus dollars which is ridiculous to ride only about a mile away so you tell me and even though im not a jewish person hatzolah was first on site thank god myself and loved ones were okay any way so this needs to be thought about completely before making a contrat with them

  13. to the one who said “you get what you pay for” what the EMS gets paid we should transported to the presidential sweet in the Grand Hayat!

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