Tempers rise during Rotterdam EMS bidding process - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Tempers rise during Rotterdam EMS bidding process

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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 said they want to publicly engage concerns at board meetings and not behind closed doors.

Rotterdam Town Supervisor Harry Buffardi said, "I think its hostile, and it's getting increasingly more hostile."

Buffardi has been the target of many attacks by people who are worried board members aren't giving REMS a fair chance to bid to continue as the primary EMS provider.

"It's still an open process," Buffardi explained. "There's been no one selected, yet. There's been no one excluded, yet."

Buffardi was accused of avoiding calls and not responding to e-mails. However, he said he's following the process of the Open Meeting Act Laws, and residents had the chance to make their opinions heard.

He said speaking openly about the bidding process isn't appropriate because he will have to impartially review companies that submit bids.

"So it's going to be based on quality of service," he said. "From my perspective, that's what's going to cause me to vote for one of the parties or not."

Buffardi and Deputy Supervisor Wayne Calder recently decided not to attend a neighborhood association meeting for fear of being attacked as well as not being able to accomplishment 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," Calder said.

More than 150 people, who were not a part of the association but support REMS workers, attended the 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. Buffardi said the company was given use of the center to cut down on response times.

"Certainly there has been some criticism of this that I think has been unfair," he said. "I [attribute] that to the emotional stage of this process."

Companies interested in trying to win the bid have to submit a proposal no later than November 27.

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