Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Very Short (I promise) Entry about MAST

The vote on the proposal to merge MAST in with the Kansas City Fire Department is Thursday, September 17. That meeting will be preceded by an opportunity for public comment and testimony, starting at 1:00 pm. That meeting may be on the 10th floor of City Hall or on the 26th floor. Note the time change from the previous blog on this!

A couple of links for your reading pleasure:

from the KC Star--Fire Chief Smokey Dyer's Agenda

From Prime Buzz--The Kansas City Chamber of Commerce resolution on the matter
Money quote:
WHEREAS, there was no opportunity for adequate public input and reflection on the implications of such action regarding the budgetary and operational impact of the merger, and
WHEREAS, additional time for deliberation and dissemination of public information would prove beneficial;
THEREFORE, The Chamber's Executive Committee requests that no further action be taken on the matter until there is adequate opportunity for public content and discussion.

An editorial from Yael T. Abouhalkah--Mayor, council and the shameful takeover of MAST
Money quote:
But when Mayor Mark Funkhouser and six other council members did something crazy last week, they also made a decision that could imperil emergency medical care and cost KC taxpayers a lot of money.
The sudden, tentative decision to let the Fire Department take over MAST was made without a public hearing and in unprofessional haste.
Funkhouser's supposed appetite for data was nowhere in sight. The ex-city auditor didn't have one scrap of paper to look at when evaluating whether it made sense to dissolve MAST, deep-six the idea of having a separate ambulance department and place the EMS personnel in the Fire Department.

A take-no-prisoners editorial from the Kansas City Star's editorial board: After City Council's backroom deal, 3 questions for Smokey Dyer
Money quote:
On a 7-6 vote last week, elected officials blindsided Kansas Citians by tentatively approving the Fire Department takeover of ambulance service next May — without sending the idea to a committee for public discussion and without any debate of the plan by Dyer, medical experts or consultants for the city. The council majority thus brazenly killed another proposal, recommended by a panel of medical and financial experts in March, to establish a separate ambulance department at City Hall.

Blogger comment: If MAST is brought into the city as a separate city department, what's to stop a subsequent City Council from folding it into the fire dept?

More from Mr. Abouhalkah--on the pension mess and printing a letter he received from a MAST administrative employee.

Prime Buzz--Putting MAST on the ballot?
Money quote:
Citizens to Save MAST -- a group trying to keep MAST as it is, an outside non-profit ambulance service -- gathered about 50 signatures of residents of Westport House on Tuesday after an information session on the City Hall maneuvering regarding the city's ambulance service.
"In my opinion, the city can't run themselves now," said John Pickett, president of the Westport House tenants association. Placing MAST into the city "would concern me tremendously."

When we gathered with the citizens at Westport House, there was no doubt that the concern was high. After we were done, several sought us out to sign the petition. The vast majority of people seriously doubt that the city can run MAST well. And many of them completely understand the politics and power grabbing going on.

Well, sort of short...

We'll try and keep Wednesday a "MAST Free Zone"!