Selma makes a change in emergency services

SELMA, Calif.

Just minutes after Monday's meeting started, council members were already bickering with speakers at the podium, and each other.

Deciding who should run the city's 22-person fire department has been a topic of discussion for more than two years.

Selma city leaders ultimately came up with two proposals: contract with Cal Fire to provide both fire and paramedic services. Or, keep the department intact, but have American Ambulance take over medical calls. The council approved option number two by a vote of three to two.

Mayor Pro Tem, George Rodriguez said, "It was a management decision based upon what would be fiscally responsible for the city of Selma."

Acting Fire Chief Mike Kain agrees with their decision. He says it will put two to three firefighters on an engine, compared to one, and have two designated paramedics instead of one, on all medical calls. "Also provides a paramedic on a fire engine if our ambulances are busy, which we stated many times that we are, so I think we're headed in the right direction."

But, union members worry, under the new plan, their jobs are at stake.

Jeremy Owens said, "What happens if this American plan does not pan out, more people are going to be laid off. You're going to chopping from the bottom. You should be chopping from the top."

They also question whether or not the numbers add up, claiming city leaders have not been transparent.

Anthony Rivas said, "Council member Rodriguez had said two weeks ago, I wanna make sure the firefighters get the information, you guys heard it yourself, we haven't gotten anything, so it's disappointing."

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