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Rotterdam paramedics out of the job after town board meeting

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Updated: 11/15/2013 10:22 pm

ROTTERDAM, N.Y. – Eleven paramedics in Rotterdam will soon be out of a job after the town decided to use an outside company for emergency services.

The temporary replacements will work through the end of year, at which time the town will hire a permanent company.

This is the latest twist in a battle between town leaders and the Rotterdam Emergency Medical Services or REMS, who has been the supplying emergency services to the town up until now.

Earlier this week, The Rotterdam Town Board voted to cut its 11 paramedics for next year. 

"We've been finding it increasingly more difficult to staff our paramedics appropriately," explained Deputy Chief Bill Manikas.

Manikas says that if they kept the paramedics through the end of year there would be more than 100 hours uncovered.

"Because of that, what we chose to do is decommission our program," he continued, "Our paramedic service program as of Monday night at midnight."

Mohawk Ambulance Service will temporarily take over the roll through the end of the year.

"There's no cost to the town of Rotterdam," said Manikas.

"The town is picking the only provider that we can go to right now," said Town Supervisor Harry Buffardi "That has all the essential services that can be provided forward to us."

But REMS employees say the decision paints a bad picture for their company.

Dean Romano, a Rotterdam Emergency Medical Services board member told NEWS10 ABC,"I'm very concerned that when we get to the bidding process that we won't have a fair shake."

That's because both REMS and Mohawk will be bidding for the emergency services contract next month. And Ramano explains that 47 people will lose their jobs if REMS' bid doesn't win.

Buffardi says REMS didn't have the proper certification to fully perform the duties needed to temporarily do the job.

"They don't have a controlled substance license at this time," he continued, "So we could not employ them in that capacity."

But REMS says it's applied for the certification.

"We have had on going conversations with the state who have confirmed that our certification is live and active now," explained Romano.

There just waiting for the Controlled Substance License which is expected within the next two weeks.

The Town of Rotterdam will still take bids for a permanent emergency services company and plans to make a final decision by the 12th of December.  

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