Silver Lake Village Board extends contract with Silver Lake Rescue through March 2014

sl-rescue-squad-backIt took three different motions, but the Silver Lake Village Board extended a contract for emergency medical services with Silver Lake Rescue Squad Inc. until March 31, 2014.

The board acted at the Village Board meeting Wednesday night. The village’s current contract with Silver Lake Rescue was set to expire July 31.

After a number of citizens comments, a question and answer period with Dr. Steven Andrews (Silver Lake Rescue Squad medical director) and some discussion among themselves, Trustee Patrick Dunn moved for the board to approve extending the contract with Silver Lake Rescue through the end of the year with Silver Lake Rescue reporting to the Silver Lake Fire Department chief, fire department members acting as first responders and with paramedics from Town of Salem Fire/Rescue automatically dispatched for calls requiring advanced life support.

Village President Sue Gerber tried to rule Dunn’s motion out of order, but Village Attorney Linda Gray said it was legitimate to vote on. It failed when only Dunn and Trustee Paul Snellen voted in favor. Trustee Cyndy Schwebke attempted to abstain, but when asked by Gray for her statutory reason for abstaining, she eventually voted no. Gerber abstained due to a conflict of interest due to her son’s status as a member of Silver Lake Rescue Squad.

Trustee Barbara Ironside next motioned to extend the SLRS contract through 2014. That motion failed due to a tied vote with Ironside, Decker and Wilber voting yes and Dunn, Schwebke and Snellen voting no. Gerber abstained for the same reason as above.

The third motion was made by Dunn and called for an extension of the SLRS contract through Dec. 31. After discussion about whether this would be enough time to find alternatives and possibly hold a referendum on the issue, Dunn and Schwebke agreed to amend their motion to extend the SLRS contract through March 2014. That motion passed unanimously.

The meeting started with Dunn apologizing for a statement he made at a special board meeting last week. At that meeting Dunn cited what he said was report from Dr. Ben Feinzimer showing that SLRS should have called for more frequent paramedic intercept. In reality the report was two separate documents that were erroneously stapled together — a letter that was written by Feinzimer and an unrelated report.

“I apologize to him (Feinzimer),” Dunn said. “I apologize to anyone here for any mistake it may have caused.”

The report showing that deficiency in calling for paramedic intercepts was actually the opinion of Silver Lake Fire Department Chief Andrew McFarlane, Gerber said.

Dr. Andrews, during his remarks, said he examined the same call reports and concluded that of the 32 calls in question that eight did receive paramedic intercept, two more could have benefited from paramedic treatment due to vomiting and severe pain and that the others did not need paramedic treatment.

“The medical care (given by SLRS) was appropriate,” Andrews said. “There were no negative outcomes … I just want to assure you that Silver Lake Rescue delivers outstanding care.”

An agenda item regarding the discussion and possible approval of paramedic bids received earlier this month was tabled Wednesday, likely because Gray said she had obtained an legal opinion that Antioch Rescue Squad could not provide service to Silver Lake because they are not licensed in Wisconsin. Antioch Rescue, Curtiss Ambulance and Silver Lake Rescue were the bidders. Curtiss’ bid — at an annual cost of $300,000 — had been rejected by the board as too expensive.

Toward the end of the meeting, Trustee Michael Decker expressed his frustration with the process that had dragged on for about 18 months without resolution.

“It amazes me that a bunch of adults sit up here and act like a bunch of kids,” Decker said of the squabbling among board members.

Gray also explained some of the issues surrounding a referendum to settle the issue, a frequent request of audience members at recent meetings. Gray said an advisory referendum could ask a question such as “should the village retain Silver Lake Rescue” but it would not be binding on the Village Board. A direct legislation referendum would require signatures of 15 percent of the voters who voted in the most recent election to be placed on the ballot. The actual vote would be on an ordinance of resolution that would be passed by the board if it was approved in the vote.

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6 Comments

  1. Finally says:

    Finally – a resolution – at least for the time being. Now the focus for the next 9 months (and beyond) should be the fire department. How is it that Wheatland, Twin Lakes, Randall, etc all have functioning and financially stable Fire Departments? Did Silver Lake Fire Department overspend? Not enough grant writing? More fundraising? A closer look into the fire department to find where the financial woes started needs to be done in order to have a hand-off point to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself. No matter who supplies the rescue service to Silver Lake in the future, rescue service will be a cost to the Village. A plan needs to be made, and followed, for the fire department to be financially responsible on its own.

  2. sandy says:

    It has been stated by Flip Flop Barb and by Al Bryner at the board meetings that the past boards did not do anything about the FD but to let them run around with an open wallet. But those same people are now criticizing the current board members for trying to find some resolution on how to maintain the FD and are the first to point out fault or to criticize anyone and everyone for anything they can think of. I think Barb and Al should look at themselves first before pointing the finger at others. I believe that those two individuals are some of the most unhappy people I have seen and if they are miserable, everyone else should be as well. Instead of pointing fingers, or in some cases, giving the finger to some, maybe you can use all that energy to come up with a reasonable suggestion. Now that would be a novel idea!!!

  3. Bernard Punsley says:

    Mike Decker FINALLY shows up for a meeting..then “chastises” the board for their immature actions. WOW!!!! He maintains SLRS is not the problem…staffing SLFD is. WOW!! What an insight!!! SLRS are the ones that made themselves “martyrs”….the original intent of the “ad hoc committee”(remember them?)was to merge fire and rescue into one cohesive unit, under the command of the Fire Chief and the Village Board. Who balked at that??? From DAY ONE, SLRS undermined that effort. For Decker to ignore that is preposterous. SLFD continues to hold the village “hostage” with their $27000 “ransom”. SLFD is in trouble…..you bet. The funds $LRS generates running rescue calls would have helped towards solving that problem. The ad hoc committee identifiied that from the start. Decker and Wilber can “sugar coat” it all they want. SLFD is floundering. They dont have access to the “cash cow” that SLFD does (ambulance transport fees). When SLFD finally goes under…..Salem FD will come in and “scoop up” the remains. SLRS will once again be forced to explain their $27000 “fees”. An incredible journey…….stay tuned, folks!

  4. Bernard Punsley says:

    I have to agree with “Finally”… a plan does need to be in place to make sure the SLFD is on firm ground. The ad hoc committee attempted to do that, they got blown out of the water. Rescue has the financial means to function, Fire does not. Sell all the hots dogs and baggo tournaments you want…the money is in ambulance fees, via charging insurance policies. Rescue did not want to give that up(can’t blame ’em). But merging Rescue and Fire together was a viable solution.Didn’t happen, ain’t gonna happen. Rescue can boast all they want about getting their ambulance out the door “faster than fire”….however, they roll out with 2 people on the rig. They can’t function effectively without Fire showing up(even if several minutes later)to assist them carry patients, medical equipment, etc. It’s a TEAM EFFORT. When Fire does go under due to the financial restraints they are under, who is going to supplement Rescue with manpower on their calls? When CONSOLIDATION takes place, Rescue will once again be pounding yard signs into front lawns. They chose to be “martyrs”, of their own volition. And they bankrolled their efforts on the “leadership capabilities” of “Mudslinging Sue”. Stay tuned.

  5. Ironic says:

    Isn’t it ironic that the people who are saying we need “sleeping quarters” in the firehouse or a full time day shift fire fighter on the payroll, are the same people who will directly benefit? Seems some in this Village are only willing to “help” out when it puts money in their pocket.

  6. Bernard Punsley says:

    In reply to “Ironic”….you seem pretty content on slamming SLFD every chance you get. Now listen VERY CAREFULLY to your own words(they are written by you in this posting”: “seems some in this Village are only willing to “help” out when it puts money in their pocket”. OK. Let’s say you are 100% CORRECT. Wouldn’t that apply to SLRS members as well?? Don’t they have “sleeping quarters” and day shift members on the payroll? Your rationale is ludicrous. BOTH SLFD AND SLRS should have paid members in quarters, and the pay they receive is a pittance at that! You keep referring to the “DIRECTLY BENEFIT” firefighters pushing for daytime staffing will enjoy. $10 an hour?!! I’m betting SLPD officers make more than that. You seem to have the same problem “Mudslinging Sue’ has, putting your foot in your mouth! Where is all this
    “money in their pockets” you keep referring to? Put YOUR money where YOUR mouth is…..SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!

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