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Voorheesville ambulance contract talks stabilize

Village and service company near agreement after sheriff intervenes

From right, Voorheesville Mayor Robert Conway, Trustee David Cardona and Deputy Mayor Richard Berger on Tuesday, Nov. 26, discuss Voorheesville Area Ambulance Service contract negotiations progress with the village attorney.

From right, Voorheesville Mayor Robert Conway, Trustee David Cardona and Deputy Mayor Richard Berger on Tuesday, Nov. 26, discuss Voorheesville Area Ambulance Service contract negotiations progress with the village attorney. Photo by John Purcell.

— Voorheesville Area Ambulance Service members and village officials have locked horns for months over contract differences, but in recent talks, the atmosphere has become surprisingly civil as next year’s agreement deadline nears.

At the village held contract negotiations with its ambulance service, located next to village offices, during the Voorheesville Board of Trustees workshop before the Tuesday, Nov. 26, regular meeting. The mood appeared to have shifted, with ambulance service representatives and board members possibly approving next year’s contract before the Dec. 31 deadline or soon after.

The current contract was not approved until more than seven months after the deadline, but Voorheesville Mayor Robert Conway said he does not see that happening this time around.

“There are still a few items that we need to resolve, but I am hopeful that they will come to a resolution pretty quickly,” Conway said. “I don’t know if it is going to be done exactly for January 1st, but the feeling I have right now is that it will be settled much sooner than later. This past contract wasn’t settled until well into the summer. I can’t envision this one going that long.”

Ambulance service representatives left the meeting feeling positive that progress was being made.

“The lines of communication have been opened and improving of recent. There is definitely some progress … being made between the squad and the village at least in regard to some meaningful communications,” VAAS board member Jason Windsor said. “Some of the little things that have been stumbling blocks are getting worked through.”

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple reached out to the squad and village and recently acted as a mediator between the two parties. The meetings appear to have paved the way for less contentious negotiations.

“The meeting with the sheriff kind of clarified some things for everybody,” Conway said. “We are all trying to get to the same place, and this is how we get there. I think maybe some of the inflammatory rhetoric has kind of gone by the wayside at least for know.”

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