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County Council purchases new ambulances, creates three new staff positions

by Kyle Reid

Essex County Council approved the purchase of seven new ambulances and created three new County staff positions during a roughly 30-minute regular meeting on Wednesday, February 20.

  The short, but productive, regular meeting featured a report from Windsor-Essex EMS Chief Bruce Krauter, which sought approval for the purchase of seven new ambulances, including two hybrid ambulances. The cost of one hybrid ambulance is around $30,000 more expensive than a non-hybrid vehicle. Krauter told Council, however, he expects the vehicles to be more cost-efficient.

  “We decrease the cost of the brake repair maintenance, we increase brake life, we decrease cost for fuel, [and] we increase fuel efficiency,” Krauter said.

  He also noted that there is no expected decrease in performance from the new hybrid ambulances.

  The total cost for the new vehicles came in at a total slightly over $1.3 million. Krauter said the cost is more than what was budgeted for the purchase of the new vehicles. However, he said some of the cost can be recouped through the sale of older ambulances, which will be decommissioned once the new vehicles come into service.

  When put to a vote, Council unanimously approved the motion to purchase the new vehicles. Krauter said he expects the new ambulances to be on the road by the spring.

  County Council also moved to create three new staff positions with the County, unanimously approving a recommendation to create the new positions for a Corporate Occupational Health and Safety Officer, Corporate Communications Officer, and Staff Educator with the Sun Parlour Home.

  Robert Maisonville, who is Essex County’s Chief Administrative Officer, delivered the staffing request to Council. He said the new positions were badly needed, as services and staff employed by the County continues to expand. In particular, Maisonville called the creation of the Corporate Occupational Health and Safety Officer “long overdue.” Maisonville noted the County has an employee base of over 900, and he is hoping this new staff member can create and enforce consistent occupational health and safety policies.

  “We’re trying to bring our policies together under one roof and be consistent across the organization, which we believe is important,” Maisonville said. “We need that extra piece…we did some polling of other municipalities and this [position] is something pretty much every municipality has for an organization of our size.”

  Maisonville’s recommendation also included the creation of a recruitment strategy to fill the new positions, which will be developed by the County’s Director of Human Resources.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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