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Ex-Ambulance Corps Volunteers Sue Mahwah

Members of the former Company 1 Ambulance Corps are suing the township over its actions during the switch to a new volunteer ambulance service last summer, report says.

A group of former Mahwah Company 1 ambulance volunteers have sued the township over its switch to a new volunteer ambulance agency last year, NorthJersey.com reported Thursday.

According to the report, the suits allege the township violated the Open Public Meetings Act and failed to provide the volunteers with a 30-day notification for lease termination.

Thirteen members of Company 1 say they were not part of discussions the township had with members of Mahwah Emergency Medical Services, which took over as the town’s official ambulance service last July, the report said. Before that, Companies 1 and 4 had split ambulance corps duties in the township.

Company 1 members also say they were forced out of their Franklin Turnpike headquarters on just hours notice, the report said.

Former Company 1 members also said they have not been able to successfully apply to volunteer with the new ambulance agency, the report said.

Township officials told NorthJersey.com that they are working with Mahwah EMS in an effort to “remove some of the obstacles” the thirteen members have been facing when trying to apply to be a part of the new organization.

In July, Mahwah EMS members said the new group was formed in an effort to create unity amongst the previously split up ambulance corps, and in an effort to improve response times. It is made up of other former members of Companies 1 and 4.

After Mahwah EMS was formed, it accused the 13 people of stripping the Franklin Turnpike HQ and the former Company 1 ambulances of all furniture and supplies before they were officially turned over to Mahwah EMS.

Robert Jones February 27, 2014 at 10:56 PM
All I want to know is WHY can't the certified EMTs join? For everyone to think that they are the embarrassment to the town you are wrong all they want to do is volunteer for the town. Why are they being blocked from MEMS???
Andy Schmidt February 28, 2014 at 02:05 AM
I remember that there were repeated times where Mahwah dispatch couldn't get MARS #1 to answer - not the FIRST call, not the SECOND call... 25 minutes and still no answer. Eventually, dispatch had to bad other towns to cover. Remember, the dispatchers keep a detailed log - so there had been a complete paper trail. Those situations caused the township HAVING to consider contracting a paid service act as a much-needed backup for unanswered calls. Rather than recognizing the problem and working with teh township to fix the problems, they spent our money to hire an attorney and pay for political ads in newspapers! Then, after the membership left those 13 behind, they showed their true colors by sabotaging the then active EMS service when they removed all the necessary supplies. Are the problems getting rigs in service... Hm, may the huge sums of money by Mahwah residents and business that those 13 have accumulated in a fat bank account could help with that? No, instead more attorneys will get rich on OUR money. If those 13 want to be taken serious, have them undo their spiteful actions against all Mahwah residents - return the supplies where they can benefit Mahwah patients, return those funds to the purpose we all donated them for! Until then, I certainly can understand that MEMS cannot accept individuals who have a history of acting completely reckless and are willing to endanger Mahwah patients out of spite! Imagine the further damage they could do! Given the history of the two groups, I am more enclined to trust that the judgement of the volunteers and leaders of Mahwah EMS -- than those 13.
Mona Lot February 28, 2014 at 05:45 AM
Hey nighthauler,first your identity is well known and since when does someone need to be affiliated with the emergency services to be able to use "The Patch" to voice an opinion? Schmidt go to your room and get all your facts correct before you cast your venom,I would hope that one of the thirteen would put aside their feeling and come to your aid should the need arise. Slockbower stick with school issues and you too get the story straight before you speak about something you read in the papers.
Robert Jones February 28, 2014 at 07:09 AM
Andy since MEMS has started it has gotten worse. Ramsey is coming to Mahwah way more. By the way Andy at the July meeting MEMS said they did not need supplies from MARS 1.
Ted Slockbower February 28, 2014 at 07:52 AM
Robert, they don't need them because they had to go out and by new supplies and the ones that MARS 1 has have probably expired by now.
Andy Schmidt February 28, 2014 at 09:24 AM
Moan-a-lot - as requested, went to my room to re-review my records. Glad to report, don't see anything I missed. Get the recording of the 7/11/13 council meeting. Then tell us how many HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of dollars MARS was withholding in accumulated assets? NJ charities have to file their annual CRI-300 (or 200) forms, including their tax returns, to NJ Consumer Affairs. Get the public records for charity CH3460600 and then report back the what you learned. Building, rigs, were stripped of supplies on taken July 23rd. What does YOUR records show took place? For many years, dispatch is keeping "Failure to Respond to Call" records. Make a public records request to Mahwah Police. Chest pains, diabetic emergencies, possible strokes... The question was not even how long it took for an ambulance to arrive - the point is that either no driver, or not EMT - or even NEITHER of both even RESPONDED, not to the first call out, not even to the SECOND call out. (To be clear: People have real jobs - so I absolutely do NOT blame the volunteers for not being available 100% of the time - but it certainly justifies the township in 2012 looking into how those emergencies could be responded to more swiftly). How would you like one of YOUR family members sitting/lying there with one of those conditions. So Moaner - your turn. Where have you arrived at different figures, and what's the source? (Other than a hot-air vent.)
Thunderbird Pride February 28, 2014 at 10:47 AM
I just wanna know where OUR money is? Is OUR money being used to pay for these lawyers? Is OUR money being used to pay for storage units for the supplies and equipment they took out of the building? Where is the accountability for OUR money? We all donated money thinking it would be used to benefit the people of this entire town. We didn't donate money to build a personal piggy bank for a select few people. to hold hostage. It's a disgrace. Use the money for the purpose it was donated or give it back to the people who donated it to you.
Regenbogen February 28, 2014 at 11:08 AM
Andy Looks as though you have a lot of free time on your hands. No need to insult people!!
Andy Schmidt February 28, 2014 at 11:33 AM
Regenbogen - never fails, biggest bullies are the first to whine when the table turns: http://mahwah.patch.com/groups/schools/p/mahwah-schools-foundation-annual-gala-this-week Scroll to bottom <G>
Regenbogen February 28, 2014 at 12:50 PM
Andy I remember exactly what I posted but thank you for taking the time to look it up!
Robert Jones February 28, 2014 at 03:19 PM
Andy, at the July meeting the mayor stated that MEMS Would have 24/7 coverage of Mahwah. I don't see that happening. If they would allow some of the 13 to join and ride you could fill up some of those empty spots. Again they are refusing help when they really need help.
Thunderbird Pride February 28, 2014 at 03:59 PM
If they really want to help, what are they planning on doing with the hundreds of thousands of dollars that they threatened to give to Valley Hospital instead of using it for the benefit of Mahwah? If they want to help, what are they doing with the supplies and equipment they have in storage? How is it helping Mahwah residents sitting in storage? Reminds me about someone wanting to have their cake and eat it too.
Robert Jones February 28, 2014 at 04:49 PM
At this point the money should not matter. Because they were told by MEMS that they did not need anything from.MARS 1. The only thing that matters is a rig getting in service, MEMS can't do that. It's Bullshit that there there are.people that want to help being told NO!
Thunderbird Pride February 28, 2014 at 04:58 PM
Robert, I am sorry if I dont agree with you. No offense, but if I took nearly $400,000 of your money, I think you would feel that it mattered. It matters to the residents who gave it to MARS assuming it would be used for the benefit of the town. Where is our money? What gives them the right to hold our donations hostage? Give it back to us so we can give it to worthy organizations who will actually use it. Soliciting donations under false pretenses is a crime. To me it is bullshit that a select few are holding money that is not theirs and are threatening to give it away and may be using it to pay for lawyers and other ridiculous things when it should be used for the people of this town who gave it to them. And if the only thing that matters is getting rigs in service, then how does that explain stripping rigs bare so that they can't be used to help people? Anyone with half a brain and has followed this story knows what really is going on here.
Robert Jones February 28, 2014 at 05:39 PM
There is no need to be sorry because we all have our own opinions. But It all goes back to the way MEMS handed it. If they all sat down and talked about changing to MEMS and included ALL of the members we would not be in the mess we are in now. I believe that the 13 did what they did because MEMS screwed them. If MEMS did things differently MARS 1,might not have done what they did
Andy Schmidt February 28, 2014 at 06:19 PM
Robert, I know absolutely nothing about the current dispute between those (exempt) members of MARS vis-à-vis MEMS. And given that they are membership non-profit organizations, independent from the township, the township can try to use some leverage - but neither the township nor the Mayor are making membership decisions! Clearly, there is more than certifications, experience and technical skill. Emergency personnel are placed in a position of trust (we trust them to maintain our strict privacy as patients, protect our property while we might be non-responsive) - which requires persons of high moral standing. Given the actions of the MARS remnants vis-à-vis supplies, disregard of the safety of Mahwah residents, withholding of funds... I am completely willing to put my trust in MEMS and how they determine whether someone is holding up to whatever standards (professionally or ethically) MEMS might have set. Most importantly, two wrongs don't make a right. If those 13 felt sidelined by everyone else leaving them behind to join the new MEMS, that doesn't justify them acting against Mahwah residents (by stripping rigs and buildings of supplies and walking away with OUR money) - or possibly trying to use it as a bargaining chip now. Yes, I do agree that this mess would not exist, if most of their membership hadn't felt that they no longer wanted to be associated with that group. Makes you to wonder why their membership felt powerless to affect whatever necessary changes WITHIN MARS, IF it had indeed been run in accordance with its by-laws.
Robert Jones February 28, 2014 at 07:02 PM
Andy, why would you put your trust in MEMS when it takes on average 30 minutes to respond? If i was ever unconscious the PD dispatcher should not have to put tones out 2 or 3 times. The only reason the MARS 1 stripped the rigs is because it belonged to MARS 1 and MEMS said they did not need any thing from MARS.
William Hunt February 28, 2014 at 07:13 PM
Robert Jones, NO they could not have sat down and discussed it because Michelle O'Toole and her minions wouldn't have allowed it. They would have seen this as a challenge to her unlimited power and squashed it.
Robert Jones February 28, 2014 at 09:11 PM
There could have been other and better ways to handle it then the way that they did. What they did was unfair and the only thing that has changed is the longer response time. WHY IS THAT??
Joe Mauro March 01, 2014 at 12:17 AM
I am going to make a few points in this post and that is it. I am not going to be dragged into a "posting war" with any of you. Andy-to your point of getting tape from the 7-11-13 council meeting, Mayor Lafforet publicly stated that all current members of MARS #1 and #4 would be members of MEMS. That has not happened. All the blackballed members of MARS #1 want to do is to serve the township on the new Ambulance corps. To Andy's post "I know absolutely nothing about the current dispute between those (exempt) members of MARS vis-à-vis MEMS" there is quite a bit of detailed information in your "know nothing" post. Please explain where you get your information so all on the patch can be informed. Also, your quote "but neither the township nor the Mayor are making membership decisions" may not be absolutely accurate. Again, the tape of the council meeting 7-11-13. the Mayor & MEMS stated that all members of MARS #1 & #4 would be accepted as MEMS members. Is the Mayor making decisions for the new MEMS? Possibly. Or have the new MEMS leadership had an absence of "high moral standing" (again, your comment, not mine) and either deliberately disobeyed the Mayor or have sold him out by publicly embarrassing him by not accepting the 13 MARS #1 people after his public statement? Are you "...completely willing to put my trust in MEMS" after this display of non compliance with the Mayor's statement? Again, this action of non compliance shows a lack of "high moral standing" (again your words, not mine)? Unless you are an insider, and if you are, then your statement about not knowing about the current dispute would be false, how would you know if MARS #1 was or was not following the by laws of the organization? High moral standards dictate that arguments are backed up with facts and not hearsay or rumors. Full disclosure, my wife is one of the thirteen and I do not hide behind pseudonym's or am a rumor mongerer.
Andy Schmidt March 01, 2014 at 08:11 AM
Joe, thank you a thoughtful post, under your real name. If you scroll back, I had listed the sources of information. Records of public meetings, communication between officials, information that is submitted by corporations, data that is gathered... are mostly available to any citizen who makes a proper written request (any sensitive personal data being redacted in some cases). This way, citizens have oversight over their government. (Of course, that takes work, so most people rather convince themselves of "truths" that match their preexisting opinions.) As far as who makes decisions - clearly, when the Mayor spoke ABOUT (not FOR) MEMS in July, he was relating the information/policies as the understood them. Again, MEMS is independent from the township (incl. the Mayor or council. I haven't requested the MEMS by-laws to see whether those reserve a seat on the board for a township representative - and whether that is a voting seat. In the non-profits I serve as trustee, similar arrangements DO exist.) Yes, I AM surprised about the inconsistency between today's reality and the picture painted last July - which sounded like the ball was in the hands of those 13 (some of which said they would pick up their applications) - but I know nothing about the reasons for that. But, keep in mind that those statements PRECEDED the subsequent despiteful act of endangering Mahwah patients by abruptly stripping rigs and building of supplies! I sincerely HOPE, that MEMS has formal membership requirements and (specially in this sensitive case) is following its own policies carefully when reviewing any new applications - and that any rejections or firmly based on those grounds and NOT out of spite. I read in the article that council members are talking with MEMS about "removing some obstacles". IF (!) those "obstacles" are simply very high standards (incl. current certifications, or the duty for minimum active service requirements - not "exemt" status, or a clean "record" of personal conduct), that are based on reasonable policies which EQUALLY apply to ALL applicants - then I see no reason to "remove" them. (The last I'd want is for MEMS is to lower its standards to the least common denominator out of policital reasons or being forced to accept "bad actors" of any kind.) IF, however, your wife fulfills their critieria and standards in every aspect, I certainly hope that she WILL be able to join.
mahwahwian March 01, 2014 at 09:29 AM
I've read the above posts and my head is spinning.
TheresTheDoor March 03, 2014 at 03:17 PM
@RobertJones... The reason the 13 weren't accepted into MEMS is because 13 people never applied to MEMS. 5 former members of MARS applied to MEMS with virtually no availability for duty. They said they would, "give what they could" but couldn't commit to any exact days or hours. So how exactly is this going to help anything? These were the same people who were sitting at home listening to their pagers go off when they were "active". Then they would have a ton of crap to say when calls were dropped. 3 of those 5 members work in town and are off EVERY.SINGLE.FRIDAY. Guess how many calls they collectively took on Fridays. ZERO! Say what you want about them leaving their job (yes, Michele O'Toole is the owner) but none of them can take even 1 call on a Friday? ------------ And how do you justify 7, yes, 7, not 13 but 7 MARS members walking into the building and taking all of the medical supplies? HOW? Go ahead. Take the tables, chairs, and happy trophies from 1973. Even take the dishes and cups. Fine. But the medical supplies??? REALLY??? This is where one of you morons is going to argue, "Yeah, but it's THEIRS! They purchased the items". Yes, they did...WITH DONATED FUNDS FROM THE MAHWAH COMMUNITY. What Michele and her croanies (yes, you "RobertJones") can't come to terms with is that the moeny they are playing games with IS NOT THEIR OWN. It is the community of MAHWAH's. So sorry to terminate your trips to the Poconos and your partries funded by the generous people of Mahwah. See...One of the reasons WHY MEMS was formed was BECAUSE there was no oversight and no ability to look into what the "great" president was doing. They never allowed anyone into their trusted circle. Now with MEMS there is oversight, an open forum, and checks and balance. ------------ What's really sad is that anyone could possibly side with any of the MARS hold outs. They were sent certified letters containing applications to MEMS. None were returned until almost 6 months later. And this is after notification of a lawsuit was already sent. So how can anyone or any organization possibly accept a member or "hire" someone that is about to sue them? That's call a conflict of interest in the "real world" and no company/corporation would hire someone that has an intent of suing them. ------------ So if O'Toole and her puppets really wanted to help the community like you say, wouldn't they just hand over the cash and medical supplies, sign the application, and get their asses on the rig? How is holding the medical supplies in storage, paying for that storage with the donated funds from the community, holding those same funds hostage as leverage in some twisted dispute, and NOT volunteering their time HELPING the cumminity at all? ------------ STOP with your BS. You continually push "not getting the rig out" and not getting to people within 30 minutes and that information is just not true. MEMS has handled more calls in a 6 month period than MARS and MAC #4 ever did and their dropped calls (where another town assisted and took the call)were all of maybe 2. MARS had 6 or 8 dropped calls in the forst 6 months of 2013. So what are we REALLY talking about here? You're listening to a scanner? So you're going off of incomplete and inaccurate data at best and spreading your OPINION to the public. How sad are you?
Mona Lot March 03, 2014 at 05:53 PM
Greg you have really set yourself up for a personal lawsuit at least Joe had the balls to use his real name.
Robert Jones March 03, 2014 at 06:28 PM
TheresTheDoor (AKA Greg) Mona lot beat me to it you are saying a bunch of names and if you were not such a puss you would say your real name and not hide behind a fake name.
mahwahwian March 03, 2014 at 07:12 PM
I 'm working on a movie called "Out of the Ambulance"
Ted Slockbower March 03, 2014 at 07:34 PM
Mona, You are the pot calling the kettle black. You put down just about everyone who disagrees with you but don't have the courage to use your real name. Talk about being chicken droppings...
Joe Mauro March 04, 2014 at 05:21 PM
@TheresTheDoor: I will not disclose names or even initials of people who have not been able to join MEMS without their consent. That would not be the right thing to do. To your comment “As for what the mayor said at the council meeting where MEMS would accept the MARS and MAC #4 former members... this was and is an accurate statement. They are welcome. But they can't expect to join an organization with a declaration of a lawsuit behind them”. I believe the lawsuit you are referring to in your post is against the township of Mahwah, and has nothing to do with the new MEMS organization. That being said and cleared up, there should be no issue with accepting these former members into the new MEMS organization. Your comment “Has anyone mentioned the fact that your vile crew was offered a settlement to the lawsuit with membership fastracked into MEMS?” Again, there is no lawsuit against MEMS, so how would the proposal MEMS submitted settle the lawsuit? The lawsuit is against the Township of Mahwah, and not against MEMS. I have not seen or read the proposal that you claim was submitted, so I will not comment on rumor or hearsay. But if you would like to disclose the terms of that proposal here please do so all that read the patch can see and read for themselves how benevolent MEMS has been to the blackballed MARS Co. #1 members. I for one would be very interested to read the proposal. Also, why were any of the applications denied previously if MEMS has now submitted a proposal to fast track their membership? Why has MEMS now changed course regarding these ostracized members? Again, your comment “How is holding the medical supplies in storage, paying for that storage with the donated funds from the community, holding those same funds hostage as leverage in some twisted dispute, and NOT volunteering their time HELPING the cumminity at all?” The President and officers of the corporation (including trustees) have a fiduciary responsibility to protect the assets of the corporation. I will argue that the officers of the MARS Co #1 have done just that. They have taken the physical assets (furniture, happy trophies from 1973, teacups, etc) and put them in a secure storage area protected from the elements and vandalism. The financial assets are not being spent frivolously (i.e. funding parties or trips to the Poconos or elsewhere) until this issue is settled. There was and is no criminal activity involved as you stated “Your wife and her friends stole community property and community money Lastly, I take personal offense to your comment directed at me “You're just not smart enough or are mentally unable to see what everyone else sees”. You are proving my point discussed with Andy Schmidt that there may be a lack of high moral standards when trusting MEMS. Joe Mauro
Andy Schmidt March 05, 2014 at 10:32 AM
Joe, you make valid points about who the defendant is in the current suit. However, to the point of having "a fiduciary responsibility to protect the assets of the corporation", that is just a poor excuse for acting out of mal intent and spite. They absolutely have the ability to act in accordance to the MISSION of MARS. There simply is nothing that prevents a non-profit corporation (which essentially is just a matter of taxation anyhow!) from making charitable donations! In this case, the ONLY right course of action was to donate consumable/supplies, etc. to either the township, or Mahwah EMS - especially when those would be used by mostly the same personnel who were also MARS members! On the other hand, the financial assets, due to it being such a large figure, certainly justify that the trustees would have taken time to obtain professional advise, before deciding about how it can be disbursed/distributed in accordance with state laws and its own by-laws, to avoid them incurring any personal liabilities.
mahwah0905 March 06, 2014 at 08:26 AM
all this back and forth is such a disgrace on both sides . obviously some of the people who are commenting here are activing riding member and members of the "13" . you should all be ashamed of yourself. When you graduated from EMT school you took an oath to be a public servent , to help others in need to the best of your ability, and to present yourself to the highest standard. have you all lost focus on the big picture WHY you became EMT's? I can understand why the "13" are not let back in, this selfish act shows their true character and i would not want them to reprsent anything most first responders stand for . find in yourself why you wanted to serve the people. For years your rode honorably and cared about the community. Find that in yourself again, give the money and equiptment back to the people who need it (THE SICK AND INJURED), send in your applications like EVERYONE did joining MEMS and get Riding again. saving a life is much more important then bickering like middle school kids!

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