Your Handy Brattleboro Fire – EMS – Rescue Timeline 2021-2022

It is sometimes helpful to look at information in a timeline format. Thanks to everyone who assisted in piecing this together this list of Brattleboro Fire, Rescue, and EMS items from the past year or so.**

Please note any additions or corrections you feel would clarify in the comments if you’d like. This is an in-progress project and will likely be updated. I’ll note any edits to the main timeline list in the comments.

2021

March 22 – Elizabeth McLoughlin becomes Chair of the Selectboard.

….

April 1 – Fire Chief Bucossi retires; Lenny Howard becomes Fire Chief.

Sept 19 – Rescue Inc. consortium meeting; Town Manager Peter Elwell says there will be no change to EMS services.

Oct 12 – Brattleboro announces hiring of Yoshi Manale.

Nov 2 – Selectboard 2021-22 goals update – no mention of Fire or EMS.

Nov 9 – Selectboard begins FY23 budget discussions.

Nov 23 – FY23 Budget discussion of Fire Department. No mention of going to a combined Fire/EMS.

Nov 30 – FY23 budget discussion of auxiliary services, with Ambulance Service as a line item. No mention of Fire/EMS.

Dec 31 – Peter Elwell retires as Brattleboro Town Manager.

2022

Jan 1 – Yoshi Manale becomes Brattleboro Town Manager; FY23 budget discussion and no discussion of Fire/EMS.

Jan 18 – Final review of FY23 budget and outstanding issues. No mention of Fire/EMS. Rescue and Town of Brattleboro sign a 3-year Operational Letter of Agreement.

Jan 19 – Drew Hazelton of Rescue asks to meet with Manale and Patrick Moreland to check in.  Had strange feeling from Jan 18 meeting (according to Hazelton comments at May 19 member town meeting).

Jan 21 – Selectboard meeting re: FY23 budget + executive session for employment, real estate, and legal advice.

Jan 25 – Special Selectboard Meeting to approve FY23 budget for RTM. No Fire/EMS discussion.

….

Feb 9 – Town Manager Manale and Patrick Moreland meet with Deb Chapman (Brattleboro’s representative) and Drew Hazelton of Rescue; Manale asks for financial information, Rescue told rate is unacceptable.

Feb 15 – Executive Session with department heads – to employ or evaluate an employee. Selectboard background materials contain statement from January Fire Department report “Administration is developing a presentation on the feasibility of BFD becoming a EMS transport service.”

….

Mar 1 – Executive Session re: employment.

Mar 9 – RTM Informational meeting.

March 15 – Executive Session re: contracts. Selectboard background materials from Fire Department report for February indicate: “Chief Howard and AC Keir continue to work on the feasibility of becoming an ambulance transport service. ”

March 19 – Brattleboro Representative Town Meeting approves FY23 budget.

March 22 – Ian Goodnow becomes Chair of the Selectboard.

March 25 – Letter from Drew Hazelton at Rescue stating Rescue cannot provide services for free, but open to further negotiations.

March 25 or 26 – Lenny Howard reached out to Golden Cross.

….

April 5 – Executive Session re: employment with Attorney “Brian Monogham” ; Selectboard discussion of goals for 2022-2023 with no mention of Fire/EMS.

April 11 – Letter from Town Manager’s office announcing Brattleboro will not continue contract with Rescue and transition to joint Fire/EMS services;  Town Manager and Chair Goodnow send letter to Rescue responding to comments.

April 18 – Forum at Fire Station – Chief Howard says he contacted Golden Cross after letter from Rescue on March 25. (Town Manager confirmed.)

April 19 – Executive Session re: contracts; Selectboard Meeting – Golden Cross contract approved. Report in background materials from Fire Department for March says “Administration continually working on developing EMS service to the people of Brattleboro.”

April 23 – Forum at Fire Station

April 26 – Forum at Fire Station

….

May 3 – Executive Session re: employment; Selectboard finalizes goals for 2022-23. No mention of Fire/EMS.

May 17 – Executive Session re: labor relations, with Fire Chief and Assistant Fire Chief; Board awards EMS Feasibility Contract to AP Triton.

May 19 – Board Chair Ian Goodnow sends letter to Rescue to discuss mutual aid; Rescue consortium meeting without Brattleboro to discuss impact to remaining member towns.

May 20 – Resignation statement from Town Manager Yoshi Manale ; Rescue offers dates and times to Town for discussing mutual aid.

May 24 – Fire/EMS District 3 Meeting – Chief Howard says Rescue not needed for backup, Keene will be covering.

May 31 – Special Selectboard meeting to accept Town Manager resignation; Executive Session with Fire Chief and Assistant Fire Chief.

….

June 1 – Rescue receives response from Town re: offer of dates and times for mutual aid meeting.

June 3 – Yoshi Manale resignation date. Robert Oeser delivers Notice of Violation to Town.

June 6 – Interim Town Manager Patrick Moreland and selectboard members meet with Rescue Inc. Brattleboro requests “uncompensated mutual aid.” Rescue issues press release.

June 7 – Selectboard admits violation of 1 VSA § 313 , § 314 – Open meeting law; ratifies Mar 15, April 5, and April 19 exec sessions to conform. Executive session to discuss Mutual Aid with Interim Town Manager, Fire Chief and and Assistant Fire Chief.

June 9 – State Health Department asks for signed Mutual Aid agreement before approving joint Golden Cross/Brattleboro Fire EMS project. (Reformer)

June 14 – Selectboard executive session discussing EMS contracts, Mutual Aid contracts, and collective bargaining with Fire Department.

June 15 – Secretary of State responds to Oeser complaint: “…steps taken by the Select Board were sufficient to cure any violations, and that the Select Board has committed to compliant practices going forward…”

June 21 – Golden Cross ambulance service approved by State of Vermont. Golden Cross contract change approved by Selectboard,  to “expand the second AEMT provider to 24 hours per day and situate a third ambulance (to be housed at Station 2.)”  Chief Len Howard tells board he requested the additional coverage.

June 23 – Interim Town Manager Moreland writes and mails letter to Rescue asking for mutual aid.

June 27 – Fire Chief Len Howard informs board of need for additional medical director services hours to meet requirements of Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and with District 13’s medical director.

June 28 AM – Selectboard member Tim Wessel releases Moreland’s letter to Rescue before Rescue receives it. Chair of Rescue board receives copy of letter from reporter asking for comments.

June 28 PM – Rescue receives letter in mail from Moreland.

June 30 – Rescue service in Brattleboro to end (contract expires on midnight, July 1, 2022); Golden Cross service to begin.

….

July 1 – Golden Cross service begins.

July 5 – Selectboard discuss additional Medical Services oversight costs for year one, raise pay for Brattleboro Fire Department members with certification by “3% EMT , 6% AEMT , 10% Paramedic,” and Brattleboro  “will pay for the EMT, AEMT & Paramedic certification programs.” Chief Howard gives update: 31 calls so far, avg response time 3:15 (max 10 min). 7.25 avg calls per day. 22 people transported. No use of mutual aid or 3rd ambulance yet.

July 24 – Ads for new Brattleboro Town Manager position appear.

….

Aug 1 – Rescue, Inc announces opening of Vermont EMS Academy, VEMSA.

Aug 16 –  Franz Reichsman asks for a deconstruction of what happened. Elizabeth McLoughlin tells public that she has no intention of explaining her decision and that the timeline starts on March 25 with the Rescue letter. Tim Wessel says the board can’t talk about contract disputes, Daniel Quipp says he can’t remember the decision-making and is happy he doesn’t think about it, and Jessica Gelter said that all her decision-making information had been made public.

September 7 – Claremont, NH hires Yoshi Manale as Town Manager.

September 12 – VT Digger reports that Brattleboro refuses to release documents related to the EMS decision requested through the state official public records process.

September 20 – Selectboard approves $50k contract increase with Golden Cross for 3rd ambulance and 24-7 AEMT. Moreland tells public analyzing what is being spent isn’t important now.

September 21 – Press release announcing AP Triton EMS survey. Deadline for submissions is October 31.

October 8-9 – AP Triton survey for BFD EMS study goes offline for much of the weekend, then returns to service.

** During 2020, 2021 and up until April 19, 2022 (ie, under the current board), there is no discussion of going to a Fire/EMS system or any mention of Rescue noted in minutes of Brattleboro selectboard meetings.

Comments | 37

  • Updated

    Added the RTM informational meeting on March 9 to round out RTM dates.

  • Correction

    In regard to this:

    “Feb 9 – Town Manager Manale, Patrick Moreland, and Deb Chapman (Brattleboro’s representative meet with Drew Hazelton at Rescue; Manale asks for financial information, Rescue told rate is unacceptable.”

    Hazelton was summoned to a “lunch meeting” with no indication of what it was for. Hazelton took Ms. Chapman with him so there would be a witness not knowing what was going to be discussed.

    The meeting was not at Rescue.

  • Was it done behind-the-scenes?

    Can anyone give us a reality check, either confirming my impression that the decision to dump Rescue seems to have been made outside of the public process? OR can anyone point out in the timeline any indication that my impression is incorrect?

    It does not seem possible that on April 11, on his own, the town manager would have sent a letter terminating Rescue. It is unimaginable that (solely as an executive action) he would have done that with a go-ahead by the selectboard, yet other than a March 15 Executive Session over a contract, the timeline seems to show no other time when the selectboard could have discussed this matter with the town manager.

    A discussion can take place in Executive Session, but a decision must be made in an open, public meeting. And, of course, a decision to terminate a town contract cannot be done at a private, undisclosed kitchen table meeting.

    I would love to see a reply by selectboard members to explain why we should not believe that they engaged in a secret, behind-closed-door decision. Did they all participate in a secret decision, and if any of them did not, then why is there not a single selectboard member blowing the whistle?

  • Updated Feb 15

    Some eagle-eyes reviewing old selectboard packet materials sent this along for Feb 15, from the FD report to the board: “Administration is developing a presentation on the feasibility of BFD becoming a EMS transport service. ”

    Added!

  • Updated March 15

    Another update caught by a reader of selectboard notes of March 15. The FD report says “Chief Howard and AC Keir continue to work on the feasibility of becoming an ambulance transport service.”

    Added!

  • Contract expiration

    Another small update to June 30, noting that the contract with Rescue expires at midnight July 1.

    • Correction

      Grotke is right: Since the contract expires on July 1, technically it was not a decision to terminate, but rather a decision not to renew. That changes nothing about the larger issue, which is that the decision appears to have been made outside of the public process.

  • Fire Department reports

    Updated to note that the Fire Department reports from Feb 15, March 15, and April 19 refer to activities the month prior.

  • June 6 meeting

    Updated with June 6 meeting between Brattleboro and Rescue, + Oeser document sent to Town on June 3.

  • June 7 Selectboard meeting

    Updated with June 7 selectboard meeting, violation, and exec session.

    (If you have anything to add, send it along to info@iBrattleboro.com or add a comment here.)

  • June 9 update

    Updated with June 9 State request for signed agreement on Mutual Aid.

  • June 15 update

    To note Sec of State’s response to Oeser complaint.

  • Good Yeoman's Work, Chris

    Just in general, thanks for your continuing efforts to help us understand all sides.

  • Contract change for Golden Cross

    Added June 21 Golden Cross contract change on selectboard agenda.

    Thanks, spot! If you see useful anything is missing, let me know.

  • June 14 added

    Added June 14 Selectboard executive session.

  • June 21 additions

    Updated with news of State approval of Golden Cross ambulance service, selectboard signing contract addendum, and Chief telling board he requested this additional coverage.

  • June 23, 28

    Updated with information about Town letter to Rescue for Mutual Aid.

  • June 27

    Addition of Fire Chief memo to board requesting $16,980.48 for additional medical service director hours.

  • July 1 and July 5 + New spreadsheet

    Updated to mark Golden Cross service beginning on July 1, and selectboard meeting to discuss additional medical services oversight, additional pay, and additional costs of certification.

    Also, there is a spreadsheet by Millicent Cooley that relates to this – it is tracking all of the related costs of switching to Golden Cross. You can find it on the Google corporation’s servers: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Dd1v1SLIIih5W817c5uOTRJuwm9RXSzTx8b4o2axTPM/edit#gid=0

    • Exceeds cost of Rescue?!

      Looking at the updated spreadsheet, it appears that the estimated costs for going with Golden Cross have now exceeded the costs of staying with Rescue. ($291k for GC; $237k for Rescue) And this doesn’t include the TM buyout of $70k.

      So, this wasn’t about saving money for the Town. Or, if it was, it failed.

      • Note, mutual aid fees

        Note for Millicent,
        Fee for mutual aid from Rescue, (if it will be provided at all) has not been quoted. So, that is an open subject at this point. The Rescue Board has not even had an opportunity to discuss it.

      • For Millicent again

        Under provider tax, just change BFT to BFD just to make sure everyone understands. Two places that same line. Also, CG would be paying this since they are billing for service. (Year 1) BFD would be responsible as soon as they start doing the billing.
        Medical waste, Rescue paid.
        Medical services, Rescue paid (There was a smaller amount that BFD was paying previously. I do not know the amount.)

  • July 5

    Updated with report from Chief Howard to selectboard.

  • Town Manager Ads and VEMSA

    Updated to add new Town Manager position ads appearing, and Rescue’s start of training for EMS at VEMSA.

  • Updated with Selectboard comments on decision making

    Selectboard members spoke out about their decision making on Aug 16, so we note that.

  • We're not alone....

    “In a bid for better oversight, the Charlotte Selectboard is considering creating its own municipal fire and rescue department. But initial deliberations took place behind closed doors and subsequent executive sessions have raised concerns about whether the board is being transparent.

    Residents, the fire department board and even two members of the Selectboard have challenged the closed-door meetings on multiple occasions.”

    From Vt Digger…
    https://vtdigger.org/2022/08/24/questions-raised-about-charlotte-selectboards-closed-door-meetings/

  • Yoshi's Back!

    Updated to note that Claremont, NH’s City Council voted to hire Yoshi Manale as Town Manager.

  • Noting Brattleboro refusal to release records to VT Digger

    VT Digger asked for records relating to the EMS decision and was refused.

    “Goodnow and his four colleagues have stressed their collective belief in the concept of “transparency” at least 20 times in the months since, meeting transcripts show. But despite public calls for leaders to practice what they preach, the municipal government has yet to release a single document explaining the surprise switch, even when asked through the state’s official public records process.”

    https://vtdigger.org/2022/09/12/brattleboro-officials-preach-but-dont-practice-transparency-on-ems-takeover/

    I’d add that questions I’ve sent to Daniel Quipp and Patrick Moreland have been ignored, too. I’ve requested information about Yoshi’s January meeting schedule, about the intensity and duration of the discussions (compared to, say, community safety discussions), and more.

    • oh man...

      Please not again with the SB being all weird and shady. This was crappy before and it’ll be crappy now.

  • Sept 20

    Sept 20 selectboard meeting added – contract addition, and comment about not analyzing spending.

  • Oct 10

    Updated to include AP Triton survey announcement and temporary failure.

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