Gloucester Twp. drops ambulance provider, citing violations

Posted: June 27, 2012

Gloucester Township on Tuesday discontinued using a nonprofit agency that has provided 911 ambulance service in the town for a decade after a state inspection discovered code violations and vehicles lacking motor-vehicle registrations, officials said.

The state Office of Emergency Medical Services found that "a total of five" of Gloucester Township EMS Alliance's ambulances were not "properly registered" and placed them out of service, township Police Chief Harry Earle said.

The township has begun using the emergency services provided by Kennedy Health System under a contingency plan, Earle said. It will also use the fire department's emergency response teams and ambulance services from Runnemede and Pine Hill.

The inspection came after a tip last week to township officials, who passed it on to the state.

Thomas Eden Sr., chief of EMS Alliance, said late Tuesday that he did not know whether the eight or so other municipalities, including Pine Hill, Winslow, and Lindenwold, that his outfit serves under a mutual-aid pact would follow suit.

In their news conference, Earle and Mayor David Mayer also said the township had for at least a year unsuccessfully sought financial documents from EMS Alliance relating to tax liens levied against it for failure to pay payroll taxes.

"We have the right to know this information here in Gloucester Township, to know that the organization is solvent, and that information was never produced when requested over a long period of time," Earle said. His remarks were posted by the Police Department on the web.

Mayer said the alliance had provided service "adequately" over the years, but said its leadership was "in disarray."

Mayer could not be reached for additional comment, including whether the township would permanently discontinue using EMS Alliance.

Eden said his service has a strong reputation, and alleged that the crackdown was personal. "This is totally political between the police chief and myself," Eden, 50, said, an allegation that Earle had denied during his news conference.

Eden said his five ambulances were registered and inspected on Tuesday.

"Everything was done within two hours. This was a big thing for the chief to get his face on TV," Eden said.

He added: "A phone call would have taken care of it."

EMS Alliance has 45 paid employees and 35 volunteers, he said. It responded to 6,000 calls in the township last year.

Eden said the liens for nearly $140,000 in unpaid payroll taxes from 2003 and 2008 were settled in 2009, before the mayor was elected. He said a former accountant "didn't do his job" and had sent payments to the "wrong department in the IRS."

He faxed The Inquirer an IRS document showing that the lien was released in September 2009, and checks from the U.S. Treasury totaling more than $26,000, which Eden said were refunds for overpayment.

He said that in early 2010 he provided the township with financial documents and just last week made an appointment with the township's auditor for Wednesday to start an audit process.


Contact Darran Simon at 856-779-3829 or dsimon@phillynews.com, or reach on Twitter @darransimon.

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