By Jerome Reuter
Londonderry Fire Chief Darren O’Brien, spoke at the most recent meeting of the Londonderry Town Council, on Monday, Sept. 27 onthe idea of foregong an RFP in replacing a vehicle.
With one of the ambulances in the emergency vehicle fleet due to be replaced, O’Brien made a proposal to the town council. While the replacement of an older ambulance is mandatory, O’Brien’s proposed idea is one that would forego the normal protocol.
A proposal such as this is normally subject to an RFP (request for proposal). This ensures transparency between the public and legislation and allows for accountability. An offer to receive proposals for a contract allows price comparison for purposes of budget. O’Brien asked the council to waive the RFP measure, and proceed with American Emergency Vehicles, who have been building and maintaining Londonderry’s ambulance fleet since their partnership began in 1996. He cited that having a single manufacturer will make it easy for maintenance and stockpiling spare parts.
“We can see a new ambulance in the next 8 to ten months…” O’Brien stated. By forgoing the RFP process, Londonderry will get this ambulance much quicker. O’Brien also estimated that going through the RFP process will mean an ambulance will not be available for a period of up to 16 months. The chief went on to explain that because of the worldwide microchip shortage, here was a larger necessity to expedite the process of getting a new ambulance as soon as possible.
Council member Joe Green disagreed with O’Brien’s proposal at first, and voiced his opinion for the benefit of having an RFP. “What about the possibility of one of the bidders coming back with a better price?” O’Brien responded with “I’d hate to fix something that’s not broken.” He then went on to discuss the benefits of having a relationship with AEV, and how they’ve been providing quality work on a consistent basis since the partnership began. “I’m an RFP guy” council head John Ferrell stated. “I’m also a supply chain guy, getting access to parts becomes critical…if we’re going to be an aging community then I would be in favor of having the best equipment to provide the best service to our community.”
However, not every citizen in Londonderry is content with the current ambulance fleet and the services they render. Londonderry resident Neil Dunn took the opportunity to express his grievance over a recent ambulance bill. “They’re saying I owe $104.00 for an ambulance that went nine miles. I asked for a breakdown of the bill and they said it was $800 for the EMT’s and $200 for the wear and tear on the vehicle.” He began to allude to other people having the same issues and that these expenses should have been covered with taxpayer money.
The council members took the time and listened to him plead his case.
It was determined that this was a matter of what insurance companies cover and not the taxes collected from the citizens of Londonderry.