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Conn. town ousts ambulance service, 40 workers furloughed

Ambulance Service of Manchester will now be the sole provider after the town manager severed ties with the longtime service over a pending sale to AMR

By Jesse Leavenworth
The Hartford Courant

SOUTH WINDSOR, Conn. — Ambulance Service of Manchester is now the sole ambulance provider in town, a company spokesman said Monday.

The state Department of Public Health awarded the "primary service area" to the Manchester-based company as of 4 p.m., ASM spokesman Dave Skoczulek said. ASM was already providing advanced, or paramedic-level service in town, and backup for EMS, or basic level service. Now, the company will provide all ambulance services, Skoczulek said.

On April 11, Town Manager Matthew Galligan declared a public emergency and cut ties with the town's longtime basic level ambulance provider, South Windsor Ambulance Corps. Galligan acted after representatives of the South Windsor company announced a sale of assets to American Medical Response.

The $220,000 sale was to be completed on May 12, but amid "the uncertainty of SWAC's ability to continue service," Galligan said he ordered all calls sent to ASM.

Calling Galligan's action illegal, SWAC President Carol Salcius said at the time that the Corps' paid ambulance staff would continue to stand by for calls. Salcius could not be reached Monday.

Police Chief Matthew Reed said the South Windsor Ambulance Corps headquarters was unoccupied Monday. Skoczulek said all employees were furloughed Sunday.

Troubles between the town and the Ambulance Corps had been brewing for years. Galligan has said the service, which switched from volunteer to paid staff in 2004, was plagued with problems, including ambulance breakdowns, missed calls and financial woes.

The town council in January voted unanimously to sever relations with the corps and contract with ASM for all services, but the decision was not immediately implemented. The town also recently served the Ambulance Corps with a notice of eviction from the West Road fire station.

At one time, Reed said, Corps members "were the epitome of volunteers in South Windsor."

"It's just a shame that in recent years, they couldn't find someone who was able to establish a good working relationship with the town council," he said.

Reed said he was confident in ASM's ability to serve the community.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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