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Council surprised by CRS representative's comments

November 30, 2000

Council surprised by CRS representative's comments



By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer


Hagerstown City Council members said Tuesday they were surprised to hear that Community Rescue Service's interim director criticized them for inaction when the council is waiting for CRS to respond to a series of questions.

Some council members said they should not let personal issues influence whether CRS receives a city subsidy.

CRS is a private ambulance company that serves most of Hagerstown and parts of the surrounding area.

CRS representatives have asked the City Council for $600,000 and a commitment of $400,000 in future years to offset operating deficits and replenish their equipment replacement reserve fund.

J. Michael Nye, CRS interim director, criticized council members during a speech at a Rotary and Kiwanis Club meeting last week. Nye said it was "unethical" and "irresponsible" for the council to ignore the CRS request.

Council members said they are not ignoring the request, but are waiting answers to financial and business questions they posed during the summer.

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"The ball lies in his court. We're not ignoring him," Councilman J. Wallace McClure said.

McClure said he has asked Nye for figures showing how much money CRS loses by serving uninsured city residents, in order to calculate a possible subsidy.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner, who supports a city contribution to CRS, asked his fellow council members to look past Nye's comments.

"CRS is a fine organization with fine people doing fine things," Metzner said.

Councilwoman Susan Saum-Wicklein agreed with Metzner, and added that the city needs to see some financial information.

"Tell Nye we want to help but we need to see the data," Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said.

Reached at his home after the council meeting, Nye said CRS has been "delayed" in responding to the council's questions, but he stood by his earlier comments.

No one on the council except Metzner has appeared willing to support CRS, Nye said.

Nye said the answers to the city questions should be completed Thursday.

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