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Florida County Reconsiders Staffing Change

LEALMAN - County officials may back off from a recommendation that one paramedic position be eliminated and another shifted from this fire district.

The county has proposed eliminating one paramedic position from the rescue unit based at Lealman Fire Station 19, at 6694 46th Ave. N. The remaining paramedic position on the rescue unit would be transferred to Station 16, at 4600 58th St. N in Kenneth City, which is run by Pinellas Park. The two stations are about a mile apart.

Station 19 also has a county-funded paramedic position for the fire engine based there. That would not change under the county proposal.

In budget parlance, a paramedic position is actually 3.4 paramedics, one for each of the three 24-hour shifts, plus occasional substitutes, gas and other expenses.

County staff members say their proposal would improve service and save countywide taxpayers a minimum of $451,000. But Lealman, which opposes the proposal, says it would increase response times to some areas of the western portion of its fire district.

Officials from the county, Lealman, Pinellas Park, St. Petersburg and Seminole met Friday to discuss the proposal and new data from Lealman staffers.

The county is looking at that information and plans to meet again with Lealman and Pinellas Park officials on Thursday, said Craig Hare, the county's medical services division manager. The county staff will likely make a final decision in a few days, he said.



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