The town of Webster and Northeast Quadrant Advanced Life Support have prevailed in a legal case brought by Union Hill Fire Department and Volunteer Ambulance Corps Board Chairman Kevin Ramph and board member Don Cerasoli.
The motion, filed in New York State Supreme Court by petitioners Ramph and Cerasoli, alleged the town did not have the authority to establish a municipal ambulance service and thereby change the primary ambulance service provider to a portion of the town. Acting Supreme Court Justice Honorable Debra A. Martin dismissed all six causes of action and affirmed that the town did indeed have the authority to contract with NEQALS and have NEQALS provide advanced life support services as well as operate the town’s ambulance, Webster Emergency Medical Service.
The case arose because in 2016, the Town Board became concerned about whether there was sufficient coverage by Union Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps Inc. to provide timely response to Webster residents’ medical emergencies. The town drafted a resolution, and the Town Board unanimously authorized the creation of a municipal ambulance service.
“The court has affirmed our decision that expanding the emergency service providers in Webster was well within our authority. This decision was made to ensure Webster residents’ emergencies could be responded to in the timeliest manner, and we are pleased that this has been resolved in favor of our residents’ best interests,” said Webster Town Supervisor Ronald Nesbitt.
“Municipal law empowers the town to provide for both a general and emergency ambulance service by contracting with an organization that had sufficient equipment and staff to furnish prehospital emergency treatment,” said Webster Attorney Charles Genese. “There can be no question that the contracts that are the subject of this proceeding serve a public purpose to provide ambulance service to the residents.”
NEQALS has been the town’s ALS provider for almost 30 years and has operated WEMS since August 2016.
“We are very pleased with the court’s ruling and the service that NEQALS and WEMS are providing to the residents in the town of Webster,” said Nesbitt. “While the town was disappointed that Mr. Ramph and Mr. Cerasoli, both board members of Union Hill Fire Department and Volunteer Ambulance Corps, chose to challenge our authority in court, I was confident the court would rule in our favor and am very pleased with the decision.”
“The town properly authorized and entered into the municipal contracts with NEQALS. The well-reasoned decision vindicates the town’s exercise of discretion,” said H. Todd Bullard, from Harris Beach who represented NEQALS in the proceeding.