Report Recommends Privatizing Houston EMS

Under forecast of financial troubles, task force says city should consider change.


 
 

CHRIS MORAN, Houston Chronicle | | Wednesday, February 8, 2012


The city should consider privatizing its ambulance service, reducing survivors' pension benefits, turning over libraries and other operations to the county, taking one firefighter off each truck, requiring employees to pay more for health insurance, imposing a blight tax on neglected foreclosed homes and scrapping cost-of-living allowances to pensioners, according to a list of suggestions sent to Mayor Annise Parker by an advisory group Tuesday.

The city should consider privatizing its ambulance service, reducing survivors' pension benefits, turning over libraries and other operations to the county, taking one firefighter off each truck, requiring employees to pay more for health insurance, imposing a blight tax on neglected foreclosed homes and scrapping cost-of-living allowances to pensioners, according to a list of suggestions sent to Mayor Annise Parker by an advisory group Tuesday.

Union Objections

Union leaders criticized the report before it was even delivered to the mayor, with Houston Organization of Public Employees President Melvin Hughes declaring the report an attack on employees.

"It's not about balancing the budget," Hughes said. "It's about stripping workers of their voice - not only their voice, but their wages."

The six union and pension representatives on the 16-member task force released a dissenting report proposing the city refinance debt, end redevelopment zones and pay some city employees with drainage fee money to ease pressure on the general fund.

The city has refinanced nearly $400 million in debt in the past 15 months and plans to refinance an additional $400 million in April. Many of the redevelopment zones could not be easily eliminated because they are paying for completed construction. And there are strict limits on paying city employees with drainage fee money.

County Requests

The task force's report also contains several suggestions of dubious possibility, such as requiring the county - a separate government over which the city has no jurisdiction - to spend within Houston city limits half of its remaining revenues after hospitals, jails and courts are funded.

Other suggestions include reducing pension benefits for future employees and discontinuing sick days for public workers.




Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, Houston, private EMS

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Mechanical CPR is Producing Resuscitation Results Beyond Expectations

Discover why clinical studies are finding mechanical CPR just as effective as optimally-performed CPR.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

New York First Responders Take Extraordinary Steps to Help Residents

Snow causes fire and EMS crews to go beyond call of duty.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Raw Video: Explosion and Fire at California Business

Over a dozen hurt in Santa Paula blaze.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Four Workers Killed at Texas Chemical Plant

Five employees exposed to methyl mercaptan in La Porte.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Worker Killed in North Carolina Bridge Collapse

A fatal construction site collapse occurred in Wake County.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Plane Crashes into Chicago Home

Pilot reported engine trouble after takeoff.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Switzerland Landslide Kills Two, Injures Four

Slide hits residential building near Lugano.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

World Trade Center Rescue

Technical rescue work is done at nation’s tallest skyscraper.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


More Product Videos >