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REMS wins board vote

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Updated: 12/11/2013 10:57 pm

ROTTERDAM, N.Y. -- The Rotterdam Town Board made a selection on who the emergency services provider will be to serve the community.

The Town Board voted 3-2 in favor on Rotterdam Emergency Medical Services (REMS) on Wednesday night.

REMS will continue to be the primary EMS provider in Rotterdam for the next five years.

During the public comment section Wednesday, only two people spoke in favor of giving the contract to Mohawk Ambulance. However, while the board members spoke, the crowd heckled them by yelling "times up." 

Dean Romano, a REMS employee said "I am relieved; I'm relieved because this has been a very long hard fight. And it truly is the right choice for the town of Rotterdam."

Representatives from Mohawk Ambulance quickly left the board room after the vote and said they were disappointed they didn't win the bid.

Rich Brandt, of Mohawk Ambulance explained, "We're disappointed by the boards decision, but we feel we submitted the best proposal, but we certainly respect the board."

Town Supervisor Harry Buffardi and Deputy Supervisor Wayne Calder voted against awarding REMS the contract.

"I was not happy with the intimidation process that was used politically. I think to exploit the politics of this was wrong, but none the less it did occur," said Buffardi.

Calder's comments prior to his vote drew a harsh reaction from the crowd, saying they haven't acted appropriate throughout the process.

"You've done a pretty lousy job of putting your effort forward, you really have. You ought to really truthfully be ashamed of yourself for the way you acted."

As it stands, REMS will resume primary EMS duties in Rotterdam as of the first of next year and no jobs will be lost.

Over the last two months, REMS supporters have packed public meetings hoping to gain support.

The town voted more than a month ago to open up the bidding process in an effort to save money and increase safety.

Last week, the town heard presentations from Mohawk Ambulance and REMS.

While each company pushed their quality of service, Mohawk Ambulance emphasized their stable company with hundreds of employees and a large amount of ambulances as to why they're a good fit for Rotterdam.

REMS focused on their history with the town and their knowledge of the call volume and community they serve. 

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