ROTTERDAM, N.Y. – Rotterdam residents became frustrated and angry when a town leader did not attend a neighborhood association meeting Monday night.
Close to 150 people packed the Pinewood Intermediate School gym in hopes of hearing Deputy Supervisor Wayne Calder talk about the ongoing Emergency Medical Services bidding process to his neighborhood association. But when Calder heard of the large number of people who were going to the meeting, he decided not to go.
"I couldn't accomplish anything," he said. "Maybe it would have made things worse."
The Rotterdam EMS Facebook page encouraged residents to attend the meeting as the REMS paramedics are at risk of losing their position as the emergency services team to the town.
When residents realized that Calder would not be attending the meeting, emotions grew high and words were directed at anyone who was willing to listen.
"This was meant to be the High Ridge Civic Associations monthly meeting," Roslyn Warlik, the association president, told the crowd.
Surprised and out of control was how Warlik described the meeting.
"This wasn't what we had intended."
REMS Board of Directors President John Dybas said having the REMS paramedics attend the meeting should not have prevented Calder from presenting.
"I can't imagine us being here should have stopped him," Dybas said. "We're standing in the back of the room observing the meeting."
"To avoid a situation, maybe he made the right decision to not come here," Warlik said.
But REMS took the no show as a message about the ongoing bidding process.
"The town simply doesn't want to talk to us about it," Dybas said.
As of midnight November 19, 11 paramedics who work for the Town of Rotterdam are being let go. Two will remain employed until the end of the year when the EMS bidding process is complete.
Mohawk Ambulance is taking over the role temporarily; however, town leaders said Mohawk's presence will not affect their decision about which company takes over in 2014.