ROTTERDAM, N.Y. – The process of taking bids for a permanent EMS provider in the Town of Rotterdam has become an out of control situation since town leaders won't speak to the public.
The board decided to open up for bids of the EMS provider in hopes of offering the best care for residents. But now some residents think it's really a ploy to oust Rotterdam Emergency Medical Services.
Town leaders are saying they want to engage concerns at board meetings and allow the process to play out publicly, not behind closed doors.
Rotterdam Town Supervisor Harry Buffardi says "I think its hostel and its getting increasingly more hostile."
Buffardi has been the target of many attacks by people who are worried board members aren't giving Rotterdam Emergency Medical Services a fair chance to bid to continue as the primary EMS provider.
"It's still an open process," explains Buffardi, "There's been no one selected yet, there's been no one excluded yet."
Buffardi has been accused of ducking calls and not responding to emails. However, he says he's following the process of the Open Meeting Act Laws and residents have had the chance to make their opinions heard.
He says opening up about the process isn't appropriate since he will have to impartially review companies that submit bids.
"So it's going to be based on quality of service," continues Buffardi, "From my perspective, that's what's going to cause me to vote for one of the parties or not."
He and Deputy Supervisor Wayne Calder recently decided not to attend a neighborhood association meeting for fear of being attacked. However, they say more importantly because they couldn't accomplish anything significant to the bid process.
"If I think that it was going to be constructive, and I could sit down and talk to them, I probably would," says Calder.
More than 150 people, who were not a part of the association but support REMS workers, attended that meeting earlier this week.
Calder said "It's impossible to sit down and have a sane conversation with that group, and I won't do it anymore."
More criticism came when Mohawk Ambulance was allowed to use the town's senior center, a building that can still be used by town residents and is not a place that people live. Buffardi says the purpose is to cut down on response times.
"Certainly there has been some criticism of this that I think has been unfair, I accept that to the emotional stage of this process," said Buffardi.
Companies interested in trying to win the bid have to submit a proposal no later than next Wednesday.