More Outsourcing Issues: This morning I attended the St. Louis County Emergency Communications Commission’s (ECC) special meeting regarding UCity's giving 6 of the the City's new 800MHZ radios to the outsourced Gateway Ambulance crews.
Most notable during the meeting:
- The representative from the St. Louis County Counselor's office said that UCity is "in breach of the user agreement" it signed with the ECC which states: "Agency shall not transfer, sell, give or otherwise dispose of any of
the Radios without the consent of the ECC." Apparently this was not considered by the City Manager or citizen consultant when written into the contract that Gateway would use UCity's FCC license and share radios.
- Chief Long indicated that he just wanted the same treatment for Gateway as Christian Northeast (another private contractor) that uses the ECC radios. Chief Long was told that Christian Northeast bought their own radios and that Gateway must enter into a user agreement with the ECC to be on the system. UCity may not give Gateway their radios for the 5 year contract. One ECC commissioner indicated that it was not the intent of the E911 tax to take taxpayer funded radios and give them to a for-profit company.
- Chief Long indicated that UCity is prepared to buy the $4000 (each) radios for Gateway, (though the contract with Gateway specifically states that UCity "will provide no financial subsidy to Gateway pursuant to the provision of service outlined in this agreement"
- Despite Chief Long's insistence that "Gateway is a part of us", the ECC commissioners maintained that Gateway requires it's own user agreement and license and must purchase the radios from the ECC.
- Chief Long, when asked about the changes to mutual aid agreements, indicated that EMS mutual aid with our neighbors has ended and when met with neighboring chiefs and told them that Gateway was willing to honor UCity's mutual aid agreement and serve their communities as backup, their response was "thanks, but no thanks."
- Captain Carol Jackson of the UCPD stated that when both Gateway Ambulances 1 and 2 are in service, UCity cannot directly communicate with Gateway Ambulances 3, 4, etc. When both ambulances are in service, emergency calls have to be forwarded to Gateway dispatch to be dispatched within UCity. Once dispatched, those ambulances are still not be able to communicate directly with UCity Dispatch.
- The commission voted to allow UCity to loan the radios to Gateway for 30 days while legislation moves through the St. Louis County Council that would enable the ECC to negotiate and enter into a user agreement with Gateway Ambulance so that they could buy radios for their medic units serving UCity. Another ECC meeting is scheduled for next week. The link is a copy of the ECC user agreement from the St. Louis County website.