This would be a mistake, said George Oxenreider, an EMT-paramedic with Polk County Emergency Medical Services. He dropped off a written statement.
“I am not a politician or a businessman, but I do believe that privatization of our ambulance service by an outside organization is a bad idea,” Oxenreider said. “I do not believe the ‘pros’ will outweigh the ‘cons’ per se, if Floyd, Redmond or some other agency becomes the new ambulance provider in our county.”
There was no immediate comment available from Polk County government officials. County Manger Clinton Lester was out of the office this afternoon. Newspaper staff is seeking a response and will post those comments when they become available.
Oxenreider said that Polk County EMTs are concerned about the possible move to privatize what they feel is an efficient and effective service.
“As a citizen and employee of Polk County, I feel it is my duty to inform the people that our Polk County Board of Commissioners are considering extending a call for bids to area emergency medical service agencies for ambulance coverage in Polk County,” Oxenreider said.
“We have been told that as of right now all of these talks are currently “under the table” so as not to attract public attention,” he said. “So in short order your ambulance service could be privatized by an outside agency, taking away your voice and mine as to how these services are provided.”
Oxenreider added that he holds county commissioners "in the highest regard and understand that they have a tough job and have to make difficult choices."
However, he added, "this is one choice that we at Polk EMS will not stand by silently and watch unfold."