Cost/Benefit Study on Issue of EMS Service in Linden Must Be Completed

by Marcelo Adinofi, MICP, EMT-B(I), Executive Director and COO of the Linden Emergency Medical Service

In light of the recent events surrounding the layoffs of seven firemen, I feel compelled to point out a few details that seem to be omitted from most publications regarding this heated issue in our community.

Linden Emergency Medical Services is a full-time, professional ambulance service with a record of service to the residents and visitors of the City of Linden going back over 60 years. From our beginnings as a volunteer department in the 1940’s, we transitioned to a professional organization beginning in1998, due to the changing environment of pre-hospital emergency medicine and the growing need of the City of Linden. Today, we are a group of over 40 emergency service personnel providing 24-hour ambulance service to our community.


Despite our level of professionalism, our organization has operated in Linden without a formalized agreement or contract; most likely due to the City’s lack of factual information about our organization. Last April, in my capacity as Executive Director of Linden EMS, I sent a letter to the Mayor and City Council detailing our operational structure and seeking to formalize our working relationship. I did this to better serve our staff and volunteers, but not as a part of any initiative to expand our scope of service. It is only fair to comment that our organizations status as a non-profit allows us to provide the highest level of professional service to the people of Linden at a minimal cost to the taxpayer.

Neither I, nor anyone in our organization has EVER advocated for the current layoffs of city firefighters and likewise, are they a result of any communication between Linden EMS and the City of Linden. Furthermore, we need to understand that the cut-backs at the fire department have absolutely nothing to do with their own involvement in EMS. Linden EMS has, for many years, worked closely with the Linden Fire Department. We know them well and respect them as first responders and do not wish to see any one of them lose their jobs. However, the issue of EMS services for the city appears to have been drawn into what I understand to be a pre-existing personnel and budget dispute between the city and the Fire Department potentially as a result of the current economy and reduced state aid.

Faced with these layoffs, the Linden Fire Department offered primary EMS services to the City, 24 hours per day, by providing one staffed ambulance and depending on Linden EMS to handle all “second jobs”. I don’t believe that the LFD or the City Council realized the devastating impact this would have on Linden EMS as we would not be able to survive financially and would subsequently be put out-of-business, laying off 23 career staff members. In addition, the additional costs to the city to provide the SAME level of service that the community is receiving from two ambulances will increase dramatically, even with an increase in gross revenue.

As a result of the preceding, a campaign of whispers and rumors has been initiated against Linden EMS, our staff and myself personally. To be perfectly clear, all Linden EMS has advocated for, and will continue to advocate for, is the cost/benefit study on the issue of EMS service in Linden be completed, reviewed and presented to the public prior to any decision being made. This study would look at all potential options and recommend a solution to the city. We see this only as a matter of good public policy and strongly believe that a hasty decision without the benefit of the study would otherwise result in not only further city layoffs but the loss of an additional 23 jobs from our own organization. It is only after a complete analysis of this issue by a professional consulting firm with a specialty in public safety, can a truly informed decision be made in the best interests of the taxpayers. It is in this interest that Linden EMS has offered to fund a percentage of the study so that the city would not incur the full cost.

Connect with NJTODAY.NET

Join NJTODAY.NET's free Email List to receive occasional updates delivered right to your email address!
Email for advertising information Send stuff to NJTODAY.NET Like Us On Facebook Follow Us On Twitter Download this week's issue of NJTODAY.NET

3 comments for “Cost/Benefit Study on Issue of EMS Service in Linden Must Be Completed

  1. tangelo
    December 17, 2010 at 12:49 am

    Mrs. Kerins-Tattoli:

    Unfortunately, you are mistaken and have several pieces of incorrect information:

    1) The Linden Emergency Medical Services is the same organization as the Linden Volunteer Ambulance Corps, a name change was filed in 1999. It is an organization rich in history, and many people of served the city since 1944, including myself.

    2) The organization remains a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization under the IRS code. Many tax-exempt organizations have paid employees including hospitals, YMCA’s, girl scout councils, and yes, the very NJ State FMBA. The nonprofit status indicates that the organization does not have any stockholders or owners and operates for the benefit of the public. None of the board of trustees are paid any salary for their service.

    3) I know you may not be aware of this, but the fire ambulance program looses in excess of $500,000 per year. Unfortunately, the fire department does not allocate its costs appropriately, therefore distorting the true costs to provide these services. In addition, currently, with two departments, there are two ambulances 24 hours a day. If the fire department were to take over and provide the exact service as performed now, they would need to allocate more manpower on daily basis, thus increasing costs. These numbers are all public information and can be compiled fairly easily.

    4) A professional, independent study will bring the true numbers to the taxpayers and decision makers with objectivity. Only after the proper due diligence can a decision be made.

    I find it extremely difficult to understand if the FMBA believes that it is the best choice to provide EMS in Linden, why it would object to this study? Perhaps the study will reveal that the fire department is understaffed, and may require additional resources?

    The taxpayer should be outraged that if EMS is assigned to the fire department, the true net loss to the city would be in excess of $800,000.

    Tom Angelo
    Chairman, Board of Trustees
    Linden EMS

  2. Rebecca Kerins-Tattoli
    December 14, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    No disrespect to Mr. Adinolfo and his LEMS organization but a correction he and the LEMS are no longer the Linden volunteer ambulance squad they just assumed the squad and made if a for profit organization – they are now paid for their services with some volunteer personnel all others are paid personnel. In fact I think they have all part-times except for 2 full time paid positions. They do not pay taxes on their building as they still hold a non-profit organization status (which should be looked into), they also receive 24 thous + from the city from fuel or maintenance and also recieve their oxygen from the Linden Fire Dept budget. The Part times do move to paid positions after time (I believe it is one year) which to most supplemental income. Because like him they have full time postions elsewhere. Although I admire each of them for what they do, there is absolutely no reason why the Linden Fire Dept could take over this full time as they already do it 12 hours a day for 5 days (+ when needed if LEMS is unavailable all other times). The Linden Fire Dept would not have to take over any other personnel to accomplish this, nor would it affect services to the Linden Community. But it would secure the position of 7 firefighters and bring in income to the community that is presently made by an outside company (LEMS). This is a no brainer and the Linden Taxpayer should be outraged. Because with the revenue that would be received if these services were to be taken over it would pay for the layoffs in personnel and yet keep our safety services in place.

    • Rebecca Kerins-Tattoli
      December 14, 2010 at 8:57 pm

      Correction on my part the statement “the part times do move to paid positions” should have been the volunteers do move to paid positions. Also they receive both fuel and maintenance (not fuel OR maintenance) Sorry for the errors.

Leave a Reply