Three Hundred Thirty Nine Thousand Seven Hundred Twenty Nine Dollars and Sixty Cents. 

6-28-2013 NewsThat’s how much it costs the city of Manchester Fire Department to provide dispatch services to its contracted ambulance companies.  Fire Chief James Burkush provided that information yesterday  in response to our email requesting the department’s justification for the three hundred twenty five thousand dollar dispatch fee the city’s demanding from the companies bidding on Manchester’s ambulance contract.  Burkush said the figure represented seventy percent of the total salaries paid to dispatchers because seventy percent of all the calls they receive are for the ambulance.  Care Plus Vice President Richard Doherty had questioned the validity of the fee not only in the company’s bid to the city, but also after our Wednesday interview with Mayor Ted Gatsas.  In the interview, Gatsas indicated he was the reason why the higher fee was being sought by the city and Doherty said he’d hoped that Gatsas wasn’t just using it as a negotiations perk.  Well, it turns out that the mayor, probably to no one’s surprise, knew the numbers and decided to see how much of the cost the city could recover.

Meanwhile, Girard at Large has learned that AMR of Massachusetts, Inc., the current company providing ambulance service to Manchester, is in fact covered by the Corporate Integrity Agreement citing it’s New York State counterpart.  A further review of the documents and discussions with the Office of the Inspector General at the federal Department of Health and Human Services makes it clear that the integrity agreement not only applies to AMR’s New York operation in Brooklyn, but also to AMR as a whole and all of its subsidiaries and affiliates.  The Inspector General’s Office was VERY clear about that.  Christopher Stawasz, AMR’s Regional Director of Operations for New Hampshire and Maine told Girard at Large that the company did not need to disclose the regulatory action, which was imposed over billing issues, because it applied only to New York, not to them.  In fact, their bid stated their regulatory record should earn them the quote unquote highly advantageous rating in the legal performance category of the bid.  In making that claim, they boasted about employing full time legal counsel staff as well as a compliance department.  You know what’s weird?  That’s a requirement of the Integrity Agreement.  Folks this is just the tip of the iceberg of what I’ve got coming in the Mother of all Oh My BLOG posts s this weekend.  Be sure to tune into Monday’s show, too.

The news continues after this.

Mayor Ted Gatsas is to blame for the dysfunction of the Manchester school board cited in the recently released curriculum audit of the Manchester School District.  That’s what mayoral candidate Patrick Arnold wants you to believe, anyway.  In a statement, which is available with the write up of this newscast at Girard at Large dot com, Arnold blames what he calls the mayor’s “my way or the highway management style” for the board’s problems and said it’s an example of why he’s running for mayor.  He will ask the Special Joint Committee on Education to evaluate the audit’s findings and facilitate discussion on how best to implement its recommendations.  Arnold also said there’s no truth to the rumor that he will attend the meeting with a Bozo the Clown nose to draw attention to the issues raised in the audit.  Our favorite Hooksett Elf expressed disappointment with Arnold’s shunning of the nose.  By the way Girard at Large has obtained an electronic file of the audit, which is posted to our Web site at Girard at Large dot com.

The Northern Pass project, a proposed transmission line carrying low-cost renewable hydroelectric power to New Hampshire and New England from Hydro Quebec, has proposed an improved route in the northernmost section of the project area. The one point four billion dollar project is subject to a comprehensive state and federal public permitting process and is expected to be operational by mid-two thousand seventeen.  The proposal includes a new route, partially underground, through New Hampshire’s North Country, and was developed in response to concerns about potential visual impacts and property rights.  Complete details of the new route are available with the write up of this newscast at Girard at Large dot com