Sudden firing of NJ's EMS director leaves questions

A spokeswoman for the state's Department of Health declined to say why former Office of EMS Director Scot Phelps was terminated on Wednesday


Joe Brandt
NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J.

TRENTON, N.J. — A state official who oversees paramedics and EMTs is longer employed in the Department of Health as of Wednesday, officials confirmed to NJ Advance Media.

Scot Phelps, the now-former director of the Office of Emergency Medical Services, wrote in a social media post that he was fired just after lunch.

Former New Jersey Office of Emergency Medical Services Director Scot Phelps was fired suddenly on Wednesday. A state Department of Health spokeswoman declined to say why Phelps was fired.
Former New Jersey Office of Emergency Medical Services Director Scot Phelps was fired suddenly on Wednesday. A state Department of Health spokeswoman declined to say why Phelps was fired. (Photo/New Jersey Association of Paramedic Programs Facebook)

"I have to say that it was a surprise and I’m still in shock, not that I didn’t expect it to happen at some point,” Phelps wrote. "But I wanted to take the opportunity to thank each and every one of you for helping with the progress we attained over the past three years. I truly believe in New Jersey’s EMS system, its clinicians, and most importantly, its leaders.”

Phelps had been the EMS director since May 2017.

A spokeswoman for the health department confirmed Phelps was no longer employed but declined to discuss specifics or comment further.

State records listed Phelps’ salary as $133,400.

Phelps, who has 37 years of experience, did a wide-ranging interview with the publication EMSWorld last month. He projected how EMS would be different in 10 years and discussed the decline of volunteering in the field.

His LinkedIn page describes his background and education with several credentials, including law and masters in public health degrees, paramedic and instructor certifications in New York and as an adjunct EMS instructor.

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©2020 NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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