Guam – At a time when, on average, there have been only 4 working ambulances in service on island, more than 70 firefighters in each of the last 3 pay periods, have received MEDIC pay costing taxpayers roughly $15-thousand dollars every 2 weeks.
MEDIC pay is extra compensation, on top of base pay, earned by fire fighters who man the ambulances.
Over the past 2 months, Acting Guam Fire Spokesman Capt Ed Flores says there have never been more than 6 amulances available for service on any given day. And on one evening two week ago there was just 1 ambulance in service. But on average, he says, there have been no more than 4 ambulances in service on a daily basis.
At the same time, the Department of Administration reports the following breakdown of MEDIC pay during the past 3 pay periods:
June 18 to July 02: 74 firefighters took home $15,226.33 in Medic pay
July 03 to July 16: 73 firefighters were paid $16, 077.79 Medic pay
July 17 to July 30: 71 firefighters received $14, 836.31 in MEDIC pay
Captain Flores says it takes 2 to man an ambulance.
But Palacios responds that if you permit the maximum of 3 firefighters for each ambulance, factor in the required double shifts, and allow for staffing 5 ambulances [instead of the average 4 available], and you would still only need 30 firefighters.
“This would appear,” says Palacios “that there are people … that are being paid EMT pay, even though there are no ambulances at the station.”
However GFD Captain Flores says that firemen who drive the Advance Life Support [ALS] units also qualify for MEDIC pay.
Senator Palacios acknowledges that could raise the total number of firemen who qualify for MEDIC pay, but he says the numbers are “still very excessive.”
Palacios says even though a firefighter might be eligible for MEDIC pay, “you have to earn it … you may be at the station, but if ” there is no working ambulance there, you shouldn’t be drawing ambulance pay.