UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. (KMOV.com) – University City is looking into the possibility of privatizing emergency ambulance services. While the city manager assures no services will be reduced, firefighters say vital time and services will be compromised.
“We want to reduce our costs, but we want to ensure that we maintain the same level of service,” said Lehman Walker, City Manager of University City.
Lehman insists the services would be the same and the city would save around $1 million dollars. However, he also said it may affect jobs and staffing levels.
“But [more] important than the jobs, candidly, is the service delivery that's going to be given to the citizens,” said Kurt Becker of the firefighters’ union.
Firefighters argue that outsourcing affects the qualifications and number of responders at a given moment.
University City has received proposals from Abbott EMS and Gateway Ambulance. While no decision has been made, the proposals are under review.
The debate over privatization comes months after six University City firefighters were suspended for posing in a city council campaign advertisement while in University City uniforms.