The City of Platteville and the townships that choose to join in will be getting paramedic service within the next two years, thanks to the Common Council’s May 26 vote.
A letter on this page echoes the statement, made twice at the council meeting, that if it was a good idea in May, it will be a good idea in some future month. The counter to that, whether you agree with the council’s decision or not, is (1) this came up first in this newspaper in 2013, so it’s been percolating for two years; and (2) while some may criticize the council for making this decision too quickly, others may claim the council dithers over other decisions. Complaints about process more often than not are complaints about the result rather than the process, at least in my experience of watching legislative bodies.
The question also was asked why the decision couldn’t wait until the new city manager, Karen Kurt, takes over in July. Without putting words in anyone’s mouth, the answer seems obvious: Kurt’s opinion about whether transferring EMS service to Southwest Health is a good idea or not does not matter, because at least five aldermen were bound and determined to do it. I write “at least five” because neither of the two No voters, Alds. Ken Kilian and Amy Seeboth-Wilson, said they were opposed to the transfer.
Since the council has discussed this for two years (but mostly in closed session under state law), the council certainly discussed this more than the average Platteville resident without a connection to Platteville EMS. I am quoted from this space as saying there is something to be said for having government control when taxpayers are footing the bill; it is also true, though, that the important thing is the quality and cost of services delivered, not who delivers them.
I wonder, though, about the extent to which opposition has to do with issues some people may have with Southwest Health. (The issue of Southwest Health’s closed hospice service has come up more than once.) People forget that while Southwest Health is organized as a nonprofit, no organization can spend more money than it takes in for very long. Even nonprofits have to make sound business decisions.
Maybe the issue is mistrust or distrust in the Common Council. A decision that appears to some to be hasty, followed by claims that such concerns are not valid, does not promote trust, particularly when the Common Council hasn’t always made the correct decision. (For instance: the current EMS garage.) Note the SWNews4U.com poll result (admittedly unscientific) that indicates opposition to the transfer.