Operations of North Warren Emergency Medical Services —which responds to hundreds of calls annually in the upper Warren County region — were suspended last week after most of the volunteer officers quit due to an internal power struggle between paid responders and volunteer staff. The agency's volunteer Board of Directors has contracted a consultant to help reorganize the agency, with the aim of contracting with the consultant to provide paid staffing. The ambulance squad is expected to be back in operation in several weeks. Meanwhile, Empire Ambulance, a for-profit enterprise, is dispatching their ambulances in North Warren's busy service area.
Photo by Thom Randall.
continued He also said that former paid staff members who were also in executive roles, had refused to turn over their financial records to the towns, which angered many citizens and volunteers.
He added that the reorganization involved inviting back disillusioned but dedicated volunteers, as well as hiring the paid staffers not likely to cause such trouble in agency operations.
“It should be a much better operation when they are done reorganizing,” Monroe said.
Wildermuth said that the North Warren squad would now be contracting with his enterprise — E5 Support Services — for paid staffing, and the paid personnel wouldn’t be direct employees of North Warren Emergency Medical Services.
This arrangement would quell the discord, he predicted.
“You can’t have volunteers and paid staff being run out of the same house,” he said. “Battling will arise.”
Wildermuth, through his E5 Support Services of Queensbury, is interviewing both paid staffers and volunteers in the squad reorganization effort.
“We’re an equal opportunity employer,” he said, predicting that the squad should reorganized and back in service in a month or less. “We’ll be encouraging the squad’s volunteer core to come back and ride,” he said.
Wildermuth said he would be listening to the allegations, conducting reference and background checks, and holding interviews prior to hiring back paid staff.
Wildermuth is now acting as the personnel provider for Bay Ridge Rescue Squad, Hague Volunteer Fire Department’s ambulance squad, the Indian Lake Volunteer Ambulance Corps and the Johnsonville Ambulance Service.
Wildermuth said he was hired by the squad board of directors Wednesday Nov. 28.
“Before North Warren closed its doors, there were no officers left — for one reason or another — and shifts were vacant,” he said. “But we hope to have a very nice program up and running in the near future — Area residents deserve an ambulance squad they can rely on and that’s what were going to be doing.”