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City grants Rural/Metro a four-month extension

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

There's still no decision on who will provide the ambulance service in Buffalo. The Common Council made a short-term move Tuesday in approving a four-moth extension for Rural/Metro. Rural/Metro has two competitors grappling for the ambulance service contract the city will eventually award. The goal is to award a long-term deal in the middle of the year, probably when the fiscal year starts July 1.

Rural/Metro went into bankruptcy last year and had an employee strike. Still, during the Council meeting Tuesday, company management was in the room as were several dozen uniformed employees.

The workers are represented by Teamsters Local 449.

"We're here supporting the employer. There's 450 employees that we represent there," said Kevin Drysdale, Local 449 Vice President.

"There's like 500 people collectively that could be affected if a decision were to be made that wouldn't maintain a presence in the City of Buffalo. That's again, as far as the relationship, we partnered with the company just as quickly as the strike was over."

Council members also continued their quest to find out more about apparent backroom federal meetings over the possibility of moving all truck traffic off the Peace Bridge and onto the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge.

North District Common Council member Joe Golombek said there won't be any subpoenas for five specific federal officials but they are being asked to show up for a March 11 meeting.
"Hopefully, these representatives from Washington, D.C. and elsewhere from the federal government will show up here on March 11 at 5:30 to a public hearing in front of this honorable body," Golombek said. "If they don't, my question is: What do you have to hide? Why are you afraid to come in front of this Council?"

Golombek is seeking direct access to the federal officials involved.  Otherwise, he says he fears Washington would dump documents upon the Council that would provide little clarity into the situation.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.