Updated 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11
A second letter that concerns the fate of Stratford EMS has been sent out to town officials and the community.
This one, unlike the first (read below), supports the direction of EMS director Philip Onofrio and his goal to create the position(s) of a paid or volunteer supervisor within the agency.
It is undersigned by 50 EMS members.
"The nature of EMS and public safety demands 24/7 supervision," Lt. Kevin Giasullo wrote. "Time periods exist in which 12-18 hours at a time are left with no EMS supervision except an 'officer on call.' Operational issues arise that demand the timeliness of having a supervisor on duty to respond."
[Read the letter in full by clicking on the attached PDF.]
Editor's note: This article has been updated to include comments from Stratford EMS director Philip Onofrio.
No internal cuts would happen as a result of the addition of one or more volunteer or paid supervisors at Stratford EMS, the agency's director Philip Onofrio said in an interview Thursday.
"I'm attempting to revitalize the volunteer component of the EMS," said Onofrio. Since he got the gig earlier this year, Onofrio said there's been an increase in new and returning EMS volunteers.
The director said a volunteer supervisor would have more responsibilities than a volunteer lieutenant or captain. In order to hire a full-time paid EMS supervisor, Onofrio said he would have to "prove a return on the investment to the Town Council."
Earlier this week, four EMS volunteers released a letter that argued the new position(s) would result in cuts to volunteer personnel. The open letter reads: "Last Wednesday Philip Onofrio, the Director of Stratford EMS, informed the volunteer officers of Stratford EMS that their positions have been terminated effective in October."
Onofrio said, while he could see where the four EMS volunteers, including Capt. Jonathan Best, were coming from, "their representation was misleading and incorrect. I don't know what they feel the threat is," he said.
"By simply changing internal titles, the public is not at risk" and volunteers who are not selected for the new position(s) won't lose their spot at Stratford EMS, Onofrio said, adding that there are many agencies in the state that use the same system he is trying to implement.
"A vast majority of volunteer membership is in favor of reconstruction," he said.
The original story follows:
EMS volunteers and officers said they learned last week that come October their positions will be terminated.
"A management structure more common in the private commercial ambulance industry" will start to be implemented next month, they wrote in a letter to the town and the community at large.
The three lieutenants and one captain who undersigned the letter said the shift poses "serious concerns" to the welfare of the community.
"The success of Stratford EMS has been based upon the dedication and contributions of volunteers at all levels," they wrote. "...EMS is not a bottomless pit of funds and the volunteer system is what makes it work."
Read the letter in full by clicking on the attached PDF.
Stratford Patch will continue to provide updates on this story as they are made available.