Ecton: Scottsdale ambulance contract critique is inaccurate; exposure of sour grapes

During two important milestones in the evolution of the city of Scottsdale providing fire and emergency services, I had the honor of serving on the city council.

Wayne Ecton

After Rural/Metro announced it was no longer interested in managing our privately run fire department, the city started its own fire department from scratch in 2005. Then, one year later, we awarded the city’s contract to provide ambulance service to our community to a brand new company called Professional Medical Transport.

Scottsdale was the very first city to which PMT delivered ambulance service.

Because I remain involved in city issues and civic activities, I have been closely following the ambulance issue in which American Medical Response — the current ambulance service provider — recently lost its bid to continue its relationship with the city to Maricopa Ambulance.

Like PMT 11 years ago, Maricopa Ambulance is a new company that is not resting on its laurels, and, from what I understand, is eager to be a good partner with the fire department.

Earlier this week after reading a column in the Scottsdale Independent from John Karolzak, I was disappointed. Mr. Karolzak, a longtime employee of Rural/Metro and currently employed by AMR, made several unfounded accusations against our fire department and its fire chief.

Read the opinion piece from Mr. Karolzak

I found Mr. Karolzak’s remarks to be inaccurate, insulting and, quite frankly, smacking of sour grapes. So his credibility and that of his employer, AMR, is highly questionable.

Last year my wife and I attended the Citizens Fire Academy sponsored by the Scottsdale Fire Department. What I thought was going to be a six-week refresher course on many of the things I already knew, actually turned into a series of revelations. We came away from that experience not only better informed, but also impressed with the thoughtfulness and attention to detail that goes into how the fire department delivers its services — including its emergency services.

I believe that the Scottsdale Fire Department is beyond reproach.

If Mr. Karolzak’s opinions and attitude reflect American Medical Response’s corporate culture and how the company does business, I believe the right decision was made to award the city’s ambulance contract to Maricopa Ambulance.

Editor’s note: Mr. Ecton is a Scottsdale resident who served on the Scottsdale City Council for two terms and continues to be a community advocate

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