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Rotterdam awards REMS ambulance contract

Town to negotiate ALS fees collection from company

Rotterdam Emergency Medical Services can rest easy for a couple years after the Town Board choose the not-for-profit over Mohawk Ambulance Service.

Discussions have stretched on for months on what ambulance service provider should be awarded a contract with Rotterdam, but the decision during the board's meeting on Wednesday, May 11, happened swiftly. While board members Wayne Calder, abstaining from voting, and Nicola DiLeva, absent from the meeting, didn't vote the 3-0 vote in support of REMS wouldn't have changed. Right before choosing REMS, the board also voted in support of Supervisor Frank Del Gallo to negotiate reimbursement of advanced life support collected by REMS. If negotiations fail, the town would proceed with litigation, but REMS seemed willing to reach an agreement.

Before casting the first vote in favor of REMS, Deputy Supervisor Robert Godlewski noted it has taken the current board a year and a half to reach the vote.

We have that process that calls for bidding this service out every two years and because we have that process in place everybody understands the rules of the game as we go forward, said Godlewski.

Calder previously said his son-in-law works for Mohawk, so he had the Town Attorney David Devaprasad David look into if there was a conflict legally in him voting to award a bid. While Calder didn't see a conflict nor his personal attorney, Devaprasad recommended he didn't vote. State law didn't appear to restrict Calder, he said, but the town's law is stricter.

"This isn't what I wanted. I wanted to be able to vote," said Calder. "After being here for 30 years I have worked with all the ambulances, including Mohawk and REMS ... if anybody knows about emergency services, I do."

DiLeva said during the board's agenda meeting on Monday, May 9, she would "rush" over to try and be present for the vote, but the May 11 meeting was on the same night of a previous engagement. Months in advance she informed the board she wouldn't be available on that evening.

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