EMS workers unhappy with Colonie cut

"We don't understand what's going on here," said Gary Favro, union coordinator for the Colonie EMS group. During Favro's remarks, he blamed the decision to terminate the program on "personal misinformation that is being directed toward the administration."

Favro told the crowd "I don't know who's throwing the hand grenades in from the outside."

One EMS responder, Mary Pat Provost, stood before members of the board and the public to read a letter on behalf of the EMS department. In the letter, she described the necessity of the program, including the extensive training the EMS respondents in the program receive. "Because the flight medics are doing EMS response in the town whenever they are not on missions (only 108 missions in 2007), certain protocols that they had were available to town residents in some cases years before other municipalities had them," she said.

Provost refuted the supervisor's assertion that the flight program is more dangerous than groundwork of the EMS respondents.

"Is the flight program dangerous? A lot of what we are asked to do is dangerous! ... Working with emotionally disturbed patients is dangerous, treating patients with AIDS, hepatitis and other blood-borne diseases is dangerous. Is the board suggesting we should stop all of these activities? We dare say no."

Town Attorney Michael Magguilli advised Provost that her three-minute time limit for comments had run up.

"I would like to make a motion to have all speakers speak on this issue for as long as they would like," said Councilman Hogan. The motion was granted, and Provost was allowed to continue, to which she simply added that the EMS department would like the board to reconsider the decision to cut the program.

As public comments waned, Councilwoman Nicole Criscione-Szesnat introduced legislation that would require decisions regarding all programs to require a public hearing. Board members became confused about the resolution and took a five-minute recess to discuss the issue. One concern about the resolution was that the word "program" is too broad of a term.

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