MINUTES OF FRANKLIN RESCUE

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2008 AT 6:30 P. M.

FIRE AND RESCUE BUILDING

 

 

 

PRESENT: David Rood, Polly Gadbois, Dick Gadbois, Bob Irish, Janet Norcross,  David Breed, Jennifer Wright, Mikel Burley, John Burley, David Rood, Pat Allain, Justin Rainville.

 

     David called the meeting to order at 6:40 p.m. at which time he turned the floor over to Polly.

 

PROPOSAL:

 

     Polly advised that what we will discuss tonight effects David and, therefore, she will read from her prepared statement to ensure she covers everything.  “Tonight’s meeting is called to ask each member to consider the future of Franklin Rescue.  Everyone is here tonight not because they love meetings and have nothing else to do, but because they are committed to this service.  Franklin is very fortunate to have you all available.

 

     David, John and I met recently to discuss the problems facing our service.  As you know, Monday through Friday coverage has become most difficult to maintain.  In order to maintain that coverage, we felt we must address the problems long term and develop a plan that will either breathe some life into this squad or submit to the fact that we can no longer sustain 24/7 coverage and resort to becoming a first responder service.  At that point, EAS would be contracted for a per capita fee.  Their current rate is $18 per capita or $24,000.  EAS currently covers the towns of Berkshire, Bakersfield, Montgomery, Sheldon and Enosburg by contract and also provides mutual aid coverage to Richford.  If they take on Franklin, they would hire another full time person to make two full crews available 24/7, but we are very concerned about their ability to maintain coverage given the geographical area they must cover.  We believe the loss of our service would be a real loss to the Town of Franklin and we attempted to develop a plan to keep Franklin Rescue alive and well.  We feel we have two obligations to the Town of Franklin.  The first is to provide quality patient care and the second is to present a professional appearance on all calls.  We believe if we can maintain these two goals then everything else should fall into place. 

 

     Franklin Rescue is licensed as an “Intermediate” service which requires an EMT l be onboard for every ALS call.  We have been using other services as intercepts when that advanced EMT is not on shift.  We currently have Polly, John and Mikal certified as 103's and Dick as an EMT l.  David is currently enrolled in the 103 class.

 

     Based on your discussions with David, John or myself, we believe we can separate our squad into two distinct groups of state certified members.  The first, those EMT B’s or EMT l’s confident in their skills with the experience to serve as crew chiefs and secondly are those members who have expressed a concern about their ability to serve as a crew chief, but are willing to serve as second crew members.  We have identified these two groups as follows: EMT B’s and l”s who can serve as crew chiefs - John, Mikal, Dick, David R, Janet and myself; EMT B’s identified as second crew members: David Breed, Wendy and Pat.  ECA’s who will serve as second crew members Bob and Jennifer Wright.  Linda, Paula and Will will run as a second crew members as soon as they test and receive their state certifications.  That gives us 11 members who are currently state certified and three others who will, hopefully, become certified in the near future.

 

     There are 10 slots on the Monday through Friday day shifts; 10 slots on the Sunday through Thursday night shifts and 8 slots on weekends that need to be filled – that’s 28 slots per week that need state certified members in order for us to have a legal crew.  I believe you are all aware that each shift must have at least one crew member who is certified as an EMT B or higher.  With this breakdown, you can see why the Monday through Friday day shifts are the most difficult to cover.

 

     So, in an effort to keep this squad “alive and well”, we propose the following for 2008:

 

     Hire David Rood to cover three Monday through Friday day shifts (6 a.m. to 6 p.m.).  David will also cover Tuesday nights and Sunday nights and one weekend per month.    He’s currently providing two days of Monday to Friday day coverage and will take the third day from his time at his primary employment.  His job requirements/duties are as follows:

 

      1.  Become certified as an l03.

      2.  Prepare monthly schedules.

      3.  Work with Assistant Squad Leader to keep shifts covered or secure EAS for coverage.

      4.  Learn billing and keep it current (within 30 days).

      5.  Maintain supply inventory.

      6.  Maintain ambulance.

      7.  Recruiting.

      8.  Schedule classes (i.e. AED, CPR, CRF, EMT, etc.) and work with instructor.

      9.  Perform rig checks on Monday through Friday duty days.

     10.  Visit Carriage House and Homestead on a monthly basis during his Monday through

             Friday day shift duty and do BP checks and maintain card index of biographical

             information of all residents.

     11.  David will sign a one year contract which will cover the period of January 1, 2008

            through December 31, 2008.

 

     The proposed salary for the above will be $35,000 plus $6,411.84 for single health insurance coverage for a total package of $41,411.84.   This figure does not include employer payroll taxes.  Currently David is making a total of $15,000 per year (salary and insurance).  This proposal represents a $26,411.84 increase.

 

     Hire Polly to cover two Monday through Friday day (6 a.m. to 6 p.m.)   shifts per week, at least one night shift (Monday through Thursday) and her rotational weekend.  Polly will receive single health insurance coverage totaling $6,580.80 as compensation.  In addition, Polly will be paid, if requested, $11 per hour for Monday through Friday day coverage up to the maximum of $12,000 annually.  Any compensation will be made only after a time sheet is approved by the Squad Leader.  Polly will continue to volunteer for the evening and rotational weekend shifts.  Her duties will be as follows:

 

     1.  Cover at least two Monday through Friday (6 a.m. to 6 p.m.)  shifts per week during the months of January through April and September through December.  During the months of May through August that may change to one day per week.

     2.  Cover at least one night shift (6 p.m. to 6 a.m.), Monday through Thursday.

     3.  Cover the rotational weekend.

     4.  Be available for intercepts when home.

     5.  Continue the oversight of FRS’s finances including accounts payable, subscriptions,                       payrolls, quarterly tax reporting, year end payroll tax reporting, preparation of W2's,            preparation of financial statements necessary for auditors to prepare taxes, preparation of            financial statements for meetings and grants, etc., reconcile monthly bank statements and

          document memorial contributions and prepare acknowledgments for the families.

     6.  Work with Squad Leader to keep shifts covered or put EAS on duty.

     7.  Perform rig checks on Monday through Friday day shifts.

 

     Mikal is currently covering two day shifts per week and an evening shift and will continue to do so until he gets another job.  He is currently being paid $9 per hour and we propose his rate per hour be increased to $11 per hour.

 

     If either David or Polly cannot cover as “Crew Chief” for any Monday through Friday day shifts as outlined above, the squad member assuming the crew chief position will be paid, if requested, as follows: EMT l03 - $11 per hour or EMT B -$9 per hour.  Those members currently able to assume crew chief duties are John, Mikal, Dick and Janet.

 

     The second person on Monday through Friday (6 a.m. to 6 p.m.) shifts, night shifts (6 p.m. to 6 a.m.) and weekend shifts (Friday at 6 p.m. until Sunday at 6 p.m.) will receive $2 per hour for stand-by PLUS $50 per call for all calls where patients are transported to or from NMC and $75 per call for all calls where patients are transported to or from FAHC.  The standby rate will apply during transports and crews will assume 2 hours for NMC and 3 hours for FAHC calls.

 

     Any member requesting reimbursement MUST submit a completed time sheet (to be provided) to the Squad Leader for approval.  No checks will be issued without Squad Leader approval.

 

     The above proposals were developed after reviewing the rate schedules for EAS, Richford and Missisquoi Valley Rescue.

     As discussed at our November meeting, David and I attended a Selectboard meeting in October to discuss the town’s obligation if EAS had to be contracted.  The Board agreed to place an article in this year’s warning which requests the taxpayers to approve an amount not to exceed $24,000 in the event FRS cannot continue to provide EMS services and EAS is contracted to provide same.  As you can see from the above, to hire EAS for 24/7 coverage would be the best financial decisions, but we don’t believe it would be the best decision for the community we serve.  Response times and EAS’s commitment to the other five towns they serve are a real concern.  How many times have you heard both of EAS’s rigs are out?  In that event, Missisquoi Valley Rescue or AmCare would need to be dispatched.

 

     Although FRS has the funds available to pay this contractual fee, we believe this is the responsibility of the taxpayers and rescue funds should be used to keep this service alive.  Other considerations, if FRS cannot continue and EAS is contracted, including maintaining our license certification, (currently we are certified as other ALS services as an “Intermediate” service) and all costs associated with maintaining coverage, when possible, i.e. we might be able to run only nights and weekends.  Much to discuss.”

 

     It was noted that these proposals were developed after talking to Enosburg, Missisquoi and Richford.

 

     David and Polly went to the Selectboard and it is now up to the voters to decide whether or not they want to approve that amount.  It was noted that Franklin Rescue will not receive the money.  It will be placed in an earmarked account and if at the end of the year it has not been needed, it will be rolled back. 

 

     It was noted that this will be the first year since 1994 that Franklin Rescue will be included in the Town Report.   A copy of the report was provided to each member for their information.  It was again noted that while the $24,000 might seem like the best financial deal, but as stated it may not be in the best interest of the Town of Franklin and there is a valid concern about response time and commitment.  If Enosburg cannot respond, then Missisquoi or AmCare would have to be called and they already handle a large number of calls which is cause for more concern.  Polly noted that after insurance and payroll taxes, our funds are now down to about $65,000.  She noted that we have been having good luck with the subscriptions coming in.  She noted that David is giving one year in which he will actively recruit and try to get people on board.  She noted that if we had another ten people and three of them were willing to become EMT’s that would spread the workload out so much that we wouldn’t be having people who are doing double and triple workloads.  Polly stated she would like to discuss this proposal this evening if members are ready to do so.

 

     Bob questioned if the squad can afford this proposal.  Polly responded that we can afford it for one year.  Polly went over the financial and explained how the squad can afford the proposal and what would remain at the end of the year. 

 

     It was noted that we have done recruiting drives before will little success and if the squad goes “belly up”, the residents of the Town of Franklin might just find themselves waiting a long time for emergency service. 

 

     David noted that his business is slow now so that he is able to do this, but he pointed out that this is not how he planned to support his family.  He stated he volunteers and this has become his passion.  He has the flexibility to cover.  He advised that he has given up another day in the office and gave up other things at the job.  David advised that the salary proposal is lower than he would have wanted, but this is what Robert from Enosburg makes to run Enosburg and he doesn’t volunteer, doesn’t do billing and doesn’t live in town.  David stated he will work with the assistant squad leader to make sure we are covered and if there is a hole in the schedule, he will go in it.  He stated he was recently able to take a short vacation because squad members volunteered to take some of the time.  It was noted that people do not realize the number of hours David and Polly put in.  Polly advised that during the month of January, she had 268 hours. 

 

     It was noted that we know there is a problem and this proposal is a temporary fix and even if things pick up for David on his job, he is making a commitment for three days for a year even if things pick up.  David noted there is a potential loss of income for him, but if he could he would do it for free.  He stated this is not what he intended to be a priority source of income.  After talking to Polly, Enosburg and other squads this will keep us from becoming a first responder squad; the last thing we want is become a first responder squad. 

 

     Discussion was held on subscriptions and what will happen to them should Enosburg take over.  Polly advised that it depends upon how FRS continues to function and discussions continue as no agreement has been reached.  She noted that when we back up other squads, we honor their subscriptions and when they back up us, they honor our subscribers.  It was further noted that our subscriptions rate has remained stable while Enosburg now charges $60 per year.  Should we become a first responder squad, we would, hopefully, keep the subscriptions. 

 

     Someone asked if there was any discussion on Enosburg doing days and FRS doing nights and weekends.  David noted that Enosburg also has coverage problems with just as many “holes” in their schedule as we have.  He related to members a recent problem we had with I-Tech coverage where we had to call on AmCare for assistance. 

 

     It was noted that Enosburg has two rigs and crews and there has been discussion about the possibility of taking Franklin’s rig to Enosburg for Unit 2 calls,  but this would leave Franklin uncovered and our loyalties are to the people of Franklin.  It was noted that Enosburg appears to be taking all the paid coverage they can and hoping they can make it.  Funding for the proposal on the table will come out of the FRS budget.  Polly was asked what would trigger payment of the $24,000 to Enosburg.  She replied that she and Robert Gleason have discussed that point and they anticipate the $24,000 would be payable to Enosburg after 30 days of coverage.  It would require the approval of the Selectboard.  Someone questioned whether that would be 30 days of consecutive coverage, 30 days of sporadic coverage or what.  Again, the Enosburg Selectboard needs to approve this time frame.  It was noted that because of the coverage Enosburg provides to other towns, should they take over Franklin they have made the commitment to hire another person.  They would then receive the $18 per capita, billing and whatever is decided about subscriptions. 

 

     With the proposal on the table regarding FRS payrolls, FRS would pay the whole cost of this year out of current reserves.  If this doesn’t work, then the Town of Franklin will have to contract with EAS and pay the annual per capita fee.  John questioned cost sharing with the Town of Franklin.  Concern was expressed that this proposal will limit the ability of FRS to purchase equipment and supplies.  It was noted that the full time EMT’s at Enosburg get about $33,000 or $34,000 a year, full time insurance and have a pension plan.  They work 24 on and have 48 off.  Robert works  Monday through Thursday.  It was noted if we can get the volunteers, we might be able to swing it.  Support for FRS through subscriptions has been fantastic.  It was noted that we handled the subscription drive differently this year.  People who subscribed last year received the yearly newsletter and a notice was placed in the Buyer’s Digest and the Messenger to notify anyone else interested in subscribing.  It was also noted that Franklin is unique in that it has not been supported by the town since 1989. 

 

     Discussion was held on the fact that many towns are experiencing the same problems facing Franklin.  It was noted that rescue services statewide seem to be very territorial and do not respond outside of their territory.  It might be beneficial for all services to get together to restructure coverage by area rather than by town.  It was noted that Franklin is much closer to the Highgate end of the Hanna Road (covered by Missisquoi) and to Rice Hill while certain parts of Franklin are closer to Enosburg in regards to response time. Dick stated that he feels that a year will “buy us time”, but he feels it is only a matter of time before the Town of Franklin will need to “kick in”.  Recruitment was discussed and it was noted that after the last drive only four people came out and of those four only one has the ability to cover during the day.   Someone questioned where the money will come from if Enosburg has to come in 24/7 and the taxpayers do not appropriate necessary funds.  Although we don’t have an answer to that question, the squad is in agreement that those funds will not come from our funds which were earned by volunteer hours.  Concern was also expressed over response time if EAS takes over.  It was also noted that the Homestead and Carriage house account for about half of FRS’s calls. 

 

     John stated we are prepared to ask the Town of Franklin for $24,000 for the least desirable option (Enosburg covering), but we are not asking them to put $24,000 into our budget.  He questioned if this $24,000 wouldn’t help the squad.  Polly explained that FRS has non-profit status and they did not ask the town for the money for our budget, but for coverage in the event we cannot cover as we do not believe this should come from funds earned by the volunteers of this squad..  Concern was expressed over the fact that this is a short-term fix and that the town needs to be put on notice that we can’t continue to do it.  It was noted that there have been times when we didn’t have the staff to run and somehow we always manage to make it through.  It was noted that we need help and there may be people out there who are willing to be up front as drivers, but not in the back administering patient care.. 

     Bob Irish suggested that we may want to address the regional EMT coverage issues with our area legislatures.  It was also noted that the real crux of what we do is to get patients to care. 

 

     Some members feel that when it comes to Town Meeting there will be a shock as the town has not given money since 1989.  In the past, FRS was able to run without funding from the town except for the voluntary support of subscribers and we were able to save money.  Some of that money was given back to the town through such things as the green flooring for the school gym, tables and chairs donated to the school, chairs and tables and holders donated to the FELCO Room,  and the land donation to the town, but funds are low now because the lack of volunteers has resulted in us paying people for coverage.  Polly stated she hopes members are able to be at Town Meeting to support the article.  It was noted that although the town’s general budget has gone up about fifteen percent that is not reflected in the tax rate as there are budget items (ROW fund, fire truck bond and salt shed articles) that are no longer in the tax rate.  Polly noted that the $24,000 will amount to about two cents on the tax rate or $20 per $100,000 of appraised value.  Bob Irish suggested that before Town Meeting, we get together to go over the issue so that we will be able to respond to the questions which are bound to come.  It was noted this is the first year since 1994 that  we have put our financial statement (copy of which was provided to each member) into the Town Report.

 

     Motion by Dick/Bob to approve the proposal with the conditions and terms as outlined by Polly and to use the year to look for new volunteers.   Polly asked if there was any further discussion and members indicated there were.  David was asked to leave the room so that the motion could be discussed. 

 

     Two areas of concern were discussed.  The first is that David be encouraged to complete his IO3 within a year and if he does not do so then future payments to him would be at an EMT B level. It was noted that David is now studying and expects to test again in the near future. The second area of concern was coverage when David has to be away.  It was noted that in the past there have been times when another paid member has covered thus we are paying double for the shift.  It was felt that coverage should either be by a volunteer or David should pay for the coverage.  Polly informed that she will make a commitment to the squad that she will work with David to provide coverage when he has to be away.  She noted they have done this in the past and he swaps shifts with her when he needs time away.    It was noted that David will sign a one year contact and that passing the IO3 is part of that contract.   Polly noted that it costs the squad $100 every time we need to have an IO3 intercept.  Upon request, Polly read the hours of David’s weekly/monthly coverage, per contract, again to the squad.

 

     There was no further discussion.  Polly asked if members wanted a paper ballot and they responded that a voice vote would be sufficient.  All members voted in favor of the proposal/motion passed.

 

     David Breed stated the simple question is does the town want us.  He stated he would feel a little better at Town Meeting if somebody showed some appreciation.  Polly advised that we often receive notes after a transport which are posted.  We also receive some very positive comments with the subscriptions and she advised she will share them with the squad.  It was noted that we need to address this situation at Town Meeting without being antagonistic.

 

     David Rood returned to the meeting.  He informed members that he had a few things he wanted to discuss.  Polly informed him of the vote and congratulated him.

 

IDENTIFICATION BADGES:

 

     David provided all members with a Vermont Emergency Medical Services District l Application for Standardized Photo Identification Card.  He asked members to fill them out and return them to him.  He will forwarded the completed forms to AmCare who will get the badges.

 

TRAINING:

 

     David advised that NIMS and ICS 100 training is now available online and each takes a little over an hour.  He advised we need it for renewal of squad certification.

 

SWEATSHIRTS:

 

     David stated as promised, we will be ordering sweatshirts for all members.  He asked that they try them on and report to him on sizes and he will see they are ordered.  He noted they will be part of our uniforms.  They decided the shirts will have the Franklin Rescue logo, but not individual names.

 

NEW BUSINESS:

 

     Personnel: David congratulated Mikal on obtaining his IO3 certification.  He also introduced Jennifer Wright who has passed her ECA certification.   He noted we have three other people who have finished their classes and will be taking the National Test and then the State test.

 

     AED’s: David informed members that we do have the updated program for the 2005 protocol

David advised they found out through the company that they have an exchange program and for a fee we can exchange the three we have for three refurbished ones with the new software.  It was noted that new they cost between $1,800 and $1,900 and refurbished it will cost us about $295.  That is only for the unit, the case, pads, etc., we keep. 

 

     EMS Conference: David asked if all members had received their conference packet.  Discussion was held on the different classes available before and during the conference.   Polly noted the squad will pay for the conference if members attend, but conference only.  David reminded members there is a money saving deadline.

 

     Death: Howard Deuso, Franklin Fire Chief, entered the meeting.  He informed members of the death of David Olmstead who for many years was a member of both FRS and the Fire Department.  Howard advised the Fire Department would be sending something from the Fire Department.

 

     Fuel: Howard advised that the Fire Department has decided to go with Ultramar next year (June, 2008 forward) if the price is comparable. The Town has been told not to automatically include us in their bidding process, but to ask us first if we want to be included.  It should be noted that Blouins has responded on three different occasions to repair our furnace, charging us each time and we’ve paid out about $425 when we previously had a contract with Ultramar and that contract cost about $175 annually.

 

MISCELLANEOUS:

 

     Community Image: David informed members that when they recently went to the grade school and helped with health screenings, when they asked students if they knew what Franklin Rescue did, they were told, “Yes.  You put out fires.”  David stated he would like to have suggestions from members of things we can do to enhance the reputation of Franklin Rescue in the community.  David stated that the Crossroads Program at the school is scheduled to progressively lose funding over the next few years and he suggested FRS might consider collecting cans/bottles the proceeds of which would be donated towards funding for this program.  Another suggestion he had was funding of a scholarship for a local student.  Adopt a highway was another suggestion as was cutting grass/weeds along the walking path which is behind the grade school.  David asked members to think about what we can do; how FRS can become more involved in other aspects of the community. 

 

     House Numbers: David reminded members that we still have the green house number signs for sale.  It was suggested we might want to set up a table at Town Meeting or during the Pancake Breakfast.  He suggested $15 for the two sided sign and $5.68 for the smaller signs???

Someone noted it would sure be nice if everyone purchased one so the house number would be easy to see. 

 

     Training:   We are attempting to set up CPR and AED re-certification.  Also, there is an EMT B class scheduled to begin March 5th.  The course is three hours once a week.  David advised he will post the schedule so that everyone knows.   He stated it would be nice if we could get more people certified so we can beef up our night and weekend coverage.

 

     Town Meeting:  Polly asked that anyone with ideas for Town Meeting send an e-mail and include all members so that everyone remains in the loop.

 

     David asked if there was anything else and there was nothing.

 

     Motion by Dick/Pat that we adjourn.  All members voted in favor/meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.

                                                                                    Respectfully submitted,

 

 

February 7, 2008                                                                                                         Barbara M. Varin

NOTE: These minutes are not official until approved by the membership at their next regular meeting.

 

 

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