The Trumbull Town Council paved the way Thursday night for the hiring of an executive director for Trumbull EMS.
They voted at a special meeting in Town Hall, and First Selectman Tim Herbst said he would identify the new official today.
The $85,000-a-year executive director's job will be to restructure the 36-year-old EMS corps so it takes more Trumbull calls instead of private services like American Medical Response getting there first.
Taking more calls means TEMS makes more money and can be more self-sustaining, Herbst said.
TEMS has moved from an all-volunteer to a hybrid service and over the years has lost many volunteers, First Selectman Tim Herbst told the Council. It needs an executive director similar to a police or fire chief.
The standout candidate for the executive director's position is "tremendous," Herbst said.
He is "among the most qualified I've ever seen," the first selectman said, adding that the candidate turned around a neighboring EMS service so that it now takes 99 percent of emergency calls.
Regarding the candidate, Councilman Michael London said, "Obviously, you think there is something very special here."
Under the current structure, EMS officials wear numerous hats, causing conflict and creating inefficiency. An audit recommended, among other things, clarifying roles and hiring an executive director.
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Trumbull police officers have emergency medical training and are often first to scenes, but a medical call can take up to 28 minutes, pulling them off the road for too long, Herbst said.
Critics of the position have the urged the town to wait and follow hiring procedure. They also wanted to speak with the Trumbull EMS Commission, a member of which has supported the executive director's job.
Councilwoman Martha Jankovic Mark moved to table the decision, but the motion failed.
"I'd be happy to vote for this" after meeting with the EMS Commission, she said.
"I don't think the correct process has been followed yet," she added.
She also objected to some language in the audit findings, noting that it recommended "neutralizing" a group of members trying to preserve the "status quo" of Trumbull EMS.
The councilwoman praised Trumbull EMS, which helped saved her from bleeding to death when she had a miscarriage.