Leadership is being shared amongst four officers in the Milton Rescue Dept. while the town searches for a new chief, town manager Don Turner explained at the selectboard’s Jan. 6 meeting.
Turner said he put the new arrangement in place when rescue was out of service for 52 hours one weekend, resulting in ten calls being handled by other agencies.
“I was concerned we needed one person in charge,” Turner said, so he created a rotating system of four duty officers with two volunteers and rescue’s two full-time employees. Each serves as the duty officer for a week. In addition, each has taken on responsibility for an aspect of the rescue operations, with one handling scheduling, another purchasing, and another maintenance. All four are meeting with Turner weekly.
The department has 18 volunteers and 12 people, mostly St. Michael’s College students, who receive a per diem for their shifts. The weekend in which the 52 out of service hours occurred was one in which the St. Mike’s students were away for winter break.
Steve Burke has been appointed an interim head of service, Turner said, but he ultimately wants to have a volunteer chief in charge of the rescue department.
The department is buying most of its materials through the UVM Medical Center now, at a substantial savings, Turner said.
Milton Rescue responded to just shy of 1,000 calls in 2019. “It’s been busy,” Turner said. “There’s a lot of call volume in Chittenden County.”
Milton is part of a mutual aid system that Turner described as “eight ambulances deep.” When one is unable to respond, another will.
As part of its discussion of the rescue department, the selectboard approved across the board fee increases of 3.8 percent, which matches the Medicare inflation rate set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.