EMS Forum: Brattleboro Municipal Staff Are In Favor of Municipal EMS

I took notes for last night’s public… uh, lecture? …spanking?…justifications? ….gaslighting?  It certainly didn’t seem much like a forum on EMS options.

For example, Town Manager John Potter introduced the evening by saying that one goal for the evening was to NOT go into detail of any of the EMS options.  A goal.

This was followed by over an hour of Town staff, many who live on towns served by Rescue, explaining why each and every one of them think the BFD is great!  A member of the public called BS on this pretty quickly, but was ignored.

Below are my notes (cut and pasted from the comments of another thread.):


  • Public meeting – municipal staff recommends municipal ems

    Asst. town manager Patrick Moreland (of Marlboro) recommends municipal model. (Prior to public comment and input, of course.) He says essential services should come from the Town (high speed internet?). He recommends using ARPA funds.

    Chief Howard (of Putney) endorses the municipal model.

    Planning Director Sue Fillion (of Walpole) endorses the municipal model.

    Finance Director Kim Frost (of Brattleboro) wrote that she supports the municipal model.

    Staff really feel staff are great.

    Audience member says they are wasting time. Especially if staff read similar statements. 30 min gone so far.

    Parks director Carol Lolatte (of Brattleboro) recommends the municipal model.

    DPW director Dan Tyler (of Dummerston) recommends the municipal model.

    This is a praise the fire department forum.

    Asst police chief Evans (of Brattleboro but not now) endorses the municipal model.

    Peter Lynch (of Dummerston) endorses the municipal model.

    45 minutes taken so far… and more to come before the public can say anything.

    Multiple staff imply Rescue supporters are being guided by emotions .

    AC Kier of the fire department thinks the municipal model is best. Choosing anything else would be a disservice.

    I wonder if staff support the municipal model?

    Librarian Starr Latronica (of Guilford) supports the municipal model.

    It’s almost an hour in…

    Sally the HR director thanks the firefighters who showed up. Names them all… Supports the municipal model. She mentions Rescue complaint against town, an investigation, findings… town said they were unfounded. An incident form was created. Used 3 times. First time was about command. Second was about training. Third wasn’t investigated as contract ended.

    That is the explanation. (Buried in this meeting).

    Firefighter Jamal says municipal model is best.

    It’s after 7 pm.

    Potter says there are many sides to every story.

    Now…the public.

  • Public

    – this is blindsiding. Not a public process. Too expensive. Don’t use arpa. You took an hour of our time.

    – stuff against rescue is unnecessary.

    – FD helps us, but spend money on police dept. this is nonsense. You created the problem. Think hard about this. You aren’t thinking about me or Brattleboro. Listen to us. I’ve lost faith in the town.

    – support for municipal ems. I have read everything and attended all meetings. Municipal is best. Rescue wasn’t done wrong… the Town was. Rescue refused to do mutual aid. Ian Goodnow explained it.

    – thanks, staff. Rescue and BFD provide excellent care. I’m not ok with hearing one side of this. Liz’s comments on narrative took me aback. The select board reconsidered their ski sculpture. Recommendations tonight are fine. I have more respect for the board making decision. It is time to move on. I thank Rescue. I support municipal ems.

    – I want to restore Rescue as the provider. I had a cardiac arrest and Rescue saved my life. They got my heart beating again. I was able to come home. I want rescue back. 98% of comments want Rescue. Got petition signatures. People love Rescue. The town knows what the people want. the charter says it is to serve common good and respecting the will of the people. Is the town doing that? Where’s the beef? Where’s the patient. Nothing is about quality of care, and isn’t in this discussion. Put aside politics and egos. We deserve the best with money we have. Rescue is willing and able. Town knows what people want. Do they have the courage to admit the mistake of a year ago? I pray they do.

    – thanks to rescue and fire dept. I have been to all meetings, too and set through every presentation. Both are good. To me it is financial impact. Town bases things on FY25… we don’t make money off EMS and never will. That’s a huge problem. Taxes or rates go up. Also, we hear expenses will go up and revenue will not. That is a concern. Every year. Cost for year one will be 953k. What we don’t know is beyond FY25 estimates. What we get billed is up to the select board. We don’t know that this will be cheaper. Need to have staff and equipment. There is a shortage of ems workers and there are delays getting ambulances. 3 years. I think it is irresponsible to go with municipal with so many questions. Can we afford to do this?

    – for 40 yrs we’ve been talking of making it municipal. We should be in partnership with Rescue. Shouldn’t spend all the money at once. Rescue was great when I needed them. Can you work together? You will always need rescue with climate change. Need to work together. Both of them.

    – one concern is we will see more environmental emergencies. We can have a successful Rescue separate from municipal system. Right now, we need a municipal model. Town staff get along. Good use of ARPA funds.

    – my understanding is that the letter… I read that they couldn’t offer services for nothing. Also, in plan, how long for Golden Cross?

    June 30 2024

    Potter – have to read the letter yourself…

    – wasn’t going to say anything.. but rescue response time for brattleboro is comparable to fire dept times.

    – the letter says given your unwillingness to pay….if the town would like to meet, please contact me….

    – the board can use ARPA for better uses than to pay for something we already have,

    – most people know Rodney King – why can’t we all get along. Rescue is working with Keene, and Putney. Putney Chief said at end of day, we work it out. Focus on patient makes us too intense. Why can’t we get along.

    – Brattleboro alt ready has best with Rescue and fire dept.

    – during first hour … any more public Forums?

    Potter – comment at next meeting.

    – accountability was mentioned earlier and implied fire dept. was more responsible. Is fire dept really accountable if all staff think they are excellent. You spoke of investigations and findings. Sounds legal, but there was some basis for allegations… were other actions or training? Further steps beyond internal investigation. Was does accountability look like.

    Sally – there is monthly trading and harassment, DEI, and other training.

    – I know the fire dept and teach at academy. Firefighters have required certification every year. Rescue does too. Firefighters then do EMS… how to do all training. $1400 for an ambulance ride? How will you collect?

    Chief -firefighters have required training as does EMT. As for billing, that will be up to the select board.

    Potter- billing decisions haven’t been made yet – board can set rates with municipal model.

    – professional firefighter from Hartford Vt- emotions! Municipal is best. Not a new concept. Emotions are charged. We provide on shift training. Big cities do municipal EMS.

    – thrilled to learn FD does so much. Plenty. Rescue does a good job.. dedicated to saving lives not fighting fires. I’d go with Rescue and their track record. They don’t put out fires.

    Dick Degray – watch me on VPR. Dept heads speak for fire dept is nice, but not the issue. Chief Howard I have respect for. High esteem. But he said in 2023…BFD has been answering calls for 20 years. Last week the board said they wanted to tell their story… 4 mishaps in 20 years? Not bad. I’m concerned about money and taxes. Ian Goodnow wonders if we have a good deal. Rescue is cheaper. BFD has helped me anytime I ask. My issue is affordability and I wonder why you don’t work things out? Fear mongering about response times… not one person ever mentioned response time until the Triton report. Our community is torn apart by this. Not sure where we will end up. Let’s put the town back together.

    – I was chair during the Covid year. We can agree that every person speaking and we agree that BFD and Rescue and golden cross are excellent service providers. I believe 80% don’t care who shows up if they are good and we have that hear. The change took us to this moment if we hadn’t changed contracts. We didn’t get the data and we have the right to change. I wrote a letter to the editor about why municipal EMS is better, and I still agree with myself. I support fire EMS so people need to let go and to look at where we are now.

    – RFP…how do we get apples to apples costing with changes… a bonded contract. Dispatch costs went up. How could a bidder sit on deciding board? How did this RFP get written?

    Moreland – fire dept didn’t evaluate the RFP…. They saw proposals when the public did. The addendum process is normal. We got questions, so we did the addendum. Town clarified things. The proposal from Rescue is higher than in past. The performance bond was $20k…. Town doesn’t need one. Dispatch revenue… there is a market for that service and we tried to price ours to be inciting to use,

    – I worked for fire dept. that lady wants someone to save a life… that was my job…BFD is about saving lives. I hear fearmongering about finances. It works in other places, why not hear. I don’t live here, but brattleboro is unique. That comment was a slap in the face. You will pay whoever you get so go with what you know is going to work.

    – I read about this but until last night I hadn’t taken a personal step. I got people to come to support keeping Rescue for now. No one didn’t want to sign… FD has been great, but today what would we do without Rescue?

    – like many I didn’t follow the relationship, but something that was helpful was hearing staffing and equipment challenges but they recommended municipal EMS. We’d have control over things and the accountability. Initial costs are big, but are an investment.

    Potter – it is 8:25.

    – not that it matters but I am surprise by how few of you live here. I was at the meeting and chiefs said how they were understaffed.. hiring a paramedic is impossible. They both relied heavily on mutual aid. In Brattleboro we have a great EMS service. Best in state. Did all Covid work. Can’t be ignored. The reason they had fire EMS systems.. it is what the people wanted. It will work here but will be expensive and will go up. Can’t afford to pay more.

    – drew – on behalf of Rescue. We want to take care of people of Brattleboro and can work on your challenges. We’re staying in town.

    – ready to step up and work together?

    Potter – next steps. Staff will recommend. Board will vote at next meeting. Reach out to board members. Thanks for coming. Thanks for listening to what everyone has to say.

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