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Emergency or the road to recovery?

"With the first crew you never have a problem because they are paid crews - at least for every shift except a couple. As for second and third calls - it is hard for us to get an ambulance off the floor without volunteers."

She noted her belief that while volunteers still care deeply about the squad, they are "not listening anymore" for volunteer calls.

Sears also worries about the "secretive" nature of the board and the lack of public attendance during squad meetings.

Earlier this week the News Enterprise was advised by Bergman that squad meetings are not open to the public or press except by invitation. He said, as a private corporation, they were not subject to "open meeting" laws. Opening meetings to the public could interfere with the privacy of patients and lead to litigation, he said.

"If that is true then why did they bring on community seats on the board three years ago?" Sears asked. "If it's none of the community's business what we do then why are we funding them?"

While Bergman agreed that the squad has been through a rough period - he said the changes were necessary to preserve the future of the squad. On a line-item basis, he vehemently disagreed with the statements and opinions expressed in last week's News Enterprise letter section and said he looks forward to putting this issue to rest.

"The reasons behind this termination are a personnel issue and will remain a personnel issue," Bergman said.

"Since her [Sears] termination the squad has actually gained seven additional volunteers.

"We've lost one member since her termination and that happens," he said.

Reacting to allegations that Johnsburg was having difficulty with "third call" responses - he said at least two of the instances were related to mechanical issues with Johnsburg's third ambulance. Of the three recent incidents that he recalled, all three were related to Gore Mountain at a time when Johnsburg's first two crews were dispatched already.

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