Now, Union City Mayor Brian Stack and the Board of Commissioners are planning to make the city's EMS even more safe for its residents. The commissioners planned to pass an ordinance at their July 20 Board of Commissioners meeting that would create the position of supervisor within the city's Emergency Management Squad. The ordinance was already passed on first reading at the board's July 3 meeting.
Director Al Mendez, who is also a lieutenant with the Union City Police Department, currently runs the squad. Mendez was assigned to the position about six months ago, replacing Patrolman Frank DePinto as director. Creating this position would allow the squad to have one supervisor on duty at all times. The ordinance will allow the EMS to name two supervisors.
"It is very important to have someone on duty at all times," said Stack. "Especially within the EMS."
The position will be paid, but someone within the EMS department will probably be promoted to it.
Along with the director, the EMS has named some of their employees acting supervisors for when Mendez is off duty, but does not have any actual supervisors on duty.
The squad, which has approximately 30 employees, currently responds to emergency calls around the clock, with two ambulances on duty at all times. The squad has a total of five ambulances.
While Stack said that no one has been earmarked for the position so far, the position will more than likely be given to someone within the department based on seniority and experience.
"More than likely we will go through the ranks for this position," said Stack, who is also the director of the city's public safety department. "I am a believer that there should be someone from the police or fire department handling the EMS."
Since the position will be given to someone already with the department, Stack said that this ordinance will go along with the city's hiring freeze, which is still in effect.
The city initiated a hiring freeze last year to help the city eliminate unnecessary spending after accusing former Mayor Rudy Garcia of hiring more than 200 new employees in his two year administration.
According to Stack, Mendez has also saved the city about 300 hours in overtime payment since he took over the EMS six months ago.
The city's EMS employees work on an hourly pay scale.
Stack said that the new position will be added immediately following passage of a salary scale for the supervisors.
Mendez was on vacation last week and could not be reached for comment.