An agreement made between Manalapan Township and the Englishtown-Manalapan First Aid Squad allows the squad to form a non-profit corporation in order to provide basic life support ambulance and emergency medical services in Manalapan. The Township Committee unanimously approved the agreement at their Dec. 11 meeting.
Over the years, the EMFAS has struggled to maintain unpaid volunteers and this agreement will allow emergency medical technicians to be paid by forming a not-for-profit corporation.
Committeeman Ryan Green wrote a “Letter to the Editor” to the News Transcript on Jan. 2 against the agreement, despite the fact that he voted to approve the agreement in December. In the letter, Green said that he had questioned his colleagues about when they were going to ask the public for input on the agreement and said that Manalapan Township Mayor Susan Cohen and Deputy Mayor Jordan Maskowitz “made it very clear they have no interest in what the public thinks when it comes to this agreement.”
Green stated that he contacted the state in November and changes were made to the agreement that prevents the township from being susceptible to liability costs and limits the agreement to one year. Additionally, Green said that he is concerned about how this agreement will affect the taxpayers in the future and said that he was a “whistleblower” on the Township Committee for the benefit of the residents.
Cohen and Maskowitz responded to Green’s letter on Jan. 2 by releasing a press release of their own calling Green’s comments erroneous and deluding. Cohen said that “the agreement merely provides our volunteer first aid squad the opportunity to reorganize its efforts to serve the residents of Manalapan.”
“The increasing number of emergency response calls, the need for volunteers to expend substantial time for training, and a difficult economy has resulted in the necessity to use the services of paid emergency medical technicians at those times when volunteers may not be available,” Cohen and Maskowitz’s release explained.
Maskowitz said that the Township Committee directed the Township Administrator to send a copy of the agreement to the Department of Community Affairs for review before Green contacted them.
"You can’t be a 'whistle-blower' in a situation where the Township had already asked for review of the first aid agreement by the State agency which provides guidance and regulations to local government,” Maskowitz said.
Additionally, Maskowitz said that there will be plenty of opportunities for the public to comment on the agreement, which merely provides the EMFAS the possibility to create a not-for-profit corporation.