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First Aid Squad Agreement with Township Causes Rift in Committee

Committeeman Ryan Green said he has "blown the whistle" on the Township Committee regarding the agreement between the municipality and the Englishtown-Manalapan First Aid Squad.

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. 

Clarence Oveur January 06, 2014 at 06:13 PM
One wonders about the due diligence done (or not done) in recommending this strategy. For one thing, the first aid squad will cease to become a "volunteer" organization. Paid EMTs will serve to revoke that status. Since revenue must be generated to pay for these paid EMTs, it's reasonable to assume that the first aid squad's service, currently free to recipients (the volunteer squad is supported by donations) will cease to be so. They will begin charging patients for ambulance transport. That being the case, did the Manalapan Twp. Committee explore the first aid squad's proposed business model, specifically any schedule of proposed fees, and compare that to similar service providers like MONOC? Is it even legal for the township to grant the first aid squad the right to operate as a revenue-generating entity without considering other possible vendors? They have, by definition, entered into a sole-source agreement without respect to normal procurement processes. For that matter, is it legal for the Township to enter into a business arrangement without some period of public disclosure and comment? And where does the Boro of Englishtown, also serviced by the Englishtown-Manalapan First Aid Squad, sit with respect to this issue? Was the Englishtown Boro Council's concurrent approval sought for this measure? And finally, what is it that fundamentally necessitates this action in the first place? The article above indicates that "Over the years, the EMFAS has struggled to maintain unpaid volunteers...". Does this mean that the first aid squad is failing to respond to first aid calls in a timely manner? And if that has been the case "over the years", why is a solution so long in coming? Neighboring communities (Freehold, for example) have augmented their first aid squad with MONOC ambulances for quite some time. These are issues that Mr. Green should continue to pursue vigorously, in the interest of the citizens of Manalapan.
Redacted January 07, 2014 at 12:14 PM
While I fully understand the FAS's difficulty in staffing full rigs, especially during the daytime, this effort will unduly impact the elderly who are the least capable to afford this change. Hello Covered Bridge? Are you aware of this and will you use your considerable political leverage to influence this process? While the FAS currently says it will only bill the patients insurance company and will accept that payment only, this raises several future questions. What about the uninsured who will continue to exist after full implementation of the ACA (Obamacare) ? What about the financial impact on the elderly? A sad but true fact is that many calls from the elderly are for those that have fallen or cannot move themselves after hours when their caregivers are not present. The PD usually handles these but not always. And some who are lonely or emotionally challenged call the FAS or PD for companionship. A neighboring rural township in went to paid Firefighters several years ago starting with 8 rotating for the daytime shift. They now have as I am told about 20 on the roster and the volunteers and Ladies Auxilary are being restricted and limited (phased out?) in their roles. Finally the amount of training required to be an EMT in NJ has become onerous to the average citizen wanting to help their community. The Federal & State governments mandate increased training requirements due to fear of lawyers & Insurance companies. All bear responsibility for this. Maybe this is long overdue, maybe this is the right thing, maybe this will become another giant financial bureaucracy/entity/burden onto the taxpayers. These are all questions that need to be addressed BEFORE this is implemented. Hopefully no one will die cause they hesitated to call not knowing if they would be able to pay the bill.
anonymous January 07, 2014 at 07:04 PM
I agree with Clarence 100% (Hmmm, sounds like a lawyer I know). But if we are creating a profit oriented entity in the township---requests for proposals should be sent out. Just a question: Are some of the volunteers going to benefit from being paid? Who will they be if so? Lets name names as to who will (financially) benefit from the reformation of this squad. And as Clarence said: What does Englishtown have to say?
MonmouthWatchdog January 07, 2014 at 09:36 PM
Good Luck Mr. Green. Hold your fellow Republicans' feet to the fire!
ENGLISHTOWN PROUD RESIDENT January 08, 2014 at 01:10 AM
Instead of complaining and pointing fingers , why not join the first aid and help!! I would think if people live in cover bridge they most likely have insurance. Freehold just subs out day time to monc. Guess what they charge you!!! Nothing is free anymore people. Congrats Jordan !!!
ENGLISHTOWN PROUD RESIDENT January 08, 2014 at 01:11 AM
Green needs to find a new hobby !!
Jared Rosenberg January 08, 2014 at 02:14 PM
^ Like
George Hartigan January 11, 2014 at 03:47 PM
Here is the other Township Committee members response: Manalapan officials respond to Green We responding to a Jan. 1 News Transcript letter to the editor written by Manalapan Township Committeeman Ryan Green concerning the agreement between Manalapan and the Englishtown-Manalapan First Aid Squad. The agreement was approved by a 5-0 Township Committee vote (unanimous) on Dec. 11, 2013. Mr. Green’s comments concerning the agreement with our first aid squad are very inaccurate and misleading. The agreement merely provides our volunteer first aid squad the opportunity to reorganize its efforts to serve the residents of Manalapan. The Englishtown-Manalapan volunteer first aid squad has been serving the residents of Manalapan for more than 70 years. However, as has been occurring throughout the state and around the country, it has become more difficult to recruit and retain volunteers. 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. All of these factors were pointed out in a recent letter the township received from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA). The DCA commended Manalapan for working with our volunteer first aid squad to reach an agreement in the interest of solving these problems. Mr. Green’s effort to paint himself as a “whistle-blower” is ridiculous on its face. The Township Committee directed the township administrator to send a copy of our proposed agreement with the first aid squad to the DCA for its review and comment. That was done before Mr. Green contacted the DCA. You cannot be a “whistle-blower” in a situation where the township had already asked for review of the first aid squad agreement by the state agency which provides guidance and regulations to local government. We were surprised at Mr. Green’s comment that this was done at the last minute, because he is well aware of meeting protocol and that new business is placed on the end of the agenda. Negotiations with the first aid squad have been ongoing for several years, led by Committeeman Jordan Maskowitz and Committeeman Jack McNaboe. It was a lengthy process to ensure that our residents will receive efficient, quality first aid services when they are needed. Supporting and encouraging our volunteers was very important to us and to almost all of the members of the Township Committee, with the exception of Mr. Green. There will be plenty of opportunity for further discussion and public input on issues pertaining to emergency medical services in Manalapan. The agreement that was authorized by the committee merely provides a framework for future action. The first aid squad has been provided with an opportunity to create a not-for-profit corporation and to obtain all the necessary licenses and permits required from the state and federal governments. If they are successful in that effort, the township has agreed to allow the first aid squad and its new entity to continue to provide services in Manalapan for one year. This will allow the township to ensure that the needs of our residents for emergency medical services are being satisfied. Committeeman Green voted without comment to approve the agreement with the first aid squad on Dec. 11. His letter is obviously nothing more than an angry reaction to finding out that none of his colleagues would support him in his quest to be the mayor in 2014. Susan Cohen Jordan Maskowitz Jack McNaboe Mary Ann Musich Members Township Committee Manalapan http://nt.gmnews.com/news/2014-01-09/Letters/Manalapan_officials_respond_to_Green.html
manalapan January 12, 2014 at 08:18 PM
Which ever way you want to look at it, The bottom line is the Residents of Manalapan Need a faster Response time in Emergency situations !!! Taking nothing away from The Great Volunteers , but WE need EMT'S available as Their job, not whenever someone is available. I have personally been involved where Emergency Services were needed and The Response time before an ambulance and EMTs arrived was very Ridiculous ! The 1st time my mother-in law had a stroke at my house and we had to wait an hr for Ambulance and EMT's to arrive. The second was this fall an incident at wemrock school where a 9 yr old kid broke his leg pretty bad on football field and it took Over an hr before an ambulance and EMT's arrive. This kid was going into shock laying on cold ground for so long in so much pain waiting on Ambulance to get there. I personally will not complain if my tax $ will go to help fund this Huge problem the TWP is having nor would I worry about paying a $800 ambulance bill if it ment getting myself, Family or Friends to hospital in a more quicker fashion if ever needed.
The way it was January 16, 2014 at 08:10 AM
Haha you have to laugh, if you've been here awhile you know these people ran on a platform that the dems had infighting and couldn't get along. Now look, I am sure Mr. Green has some great "confidential" info he can't wait to spill.
The way it was January 16, 2014 at 08:12 AM
Regarding anonymous's statement who will benefit?? What is that famous expression who benefits in a lawsuit???

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