By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,482)
For at least part of Thanksgiving Day and starting the evening before, two signs were propped against an entrance to the Munjoy Hill Fire Station announcing that the ambulance serving this area is closed per city order. Early this afternoon, the sign was ordered inside to avoid public scrutiny by a Fire Department official.
The closure took effect last night, Wednesday, around 8:00 pm and lasts until Friday November 27 around 8:00 am.
It is believed that the closure order came from city manager Jon Jennings and was for budgetary reasons. The paramedics who would have staffed the ambulance would have been paid overtime and the city is trying to cut down on this expenditure for budgetary reasons. City councilor Ed Suslovic who was briefly a candidate for Mayor of Portland earlier this month championed this cause for years in a sometimes public food fight with the Portland Fire Department Chief, Jerry LaMoira. One of Suslovic’s agendas has been to slowly dismantle the Fire Department by reducing its overtime and number of firefighters on the payroll. Those reductions at the Fire Department would enable the Portland Police Department to hire more officers Suslovic has told this blogger in the past. Fire Department Chief Jerry LaMoira, who came out of retirement to take over the Department several years ago, retired from his post last month for personal reasons.
People out for a walk today, Thanksgiving Day, noticed the sign and expressed concern about the reduced service and were looking for more information. One was Hill resident Margaret Salisbury who was out walking her dog. “This is a matter of public safety for us. No one told us about this. Why not? If Mayor Brennan had been re-elected, he would have stood up to this decision. Instead, an expensive puppet of the City Council has been elected to carry out its conservative wishes. Mayor Brennan had a good agenda for the city. That’s gone now. There is nothing personal here,” she added.
This blogger emailed the city spokeswoman and the city manager this morning about the closing. City hall is shutdown as well for the long weekend and no response to the fire department questions was received because of that.