Posted: Nov 22, 2011 6:03 PM by Stephanie Ryan
Updated: Nov 22, 2011 6:36 PM
BATON ROUGE-- Emergency Medical Services Administrator Pam Porter met with Mayor Kip Holden Tuesday afternoon to request 20 more workers to staff the 911 call center and to staff ambulances.
But city finance workers said no to the original request Monday night, citing long-term funding as a concern.
Walker said his main concern is the safety of people in Baton Rouge, adding some nights EMS has only one extra truck in service.
"What happens if you cannot make those calls? What's gonna happen to the person on the other end of the line who needs emergency services?" Walker asked.
Walker says the call center has fielded roughly 100,000 more calls in recent years.
"You cannot be short. You cannot take a chance of being short," Walker said.
Porter's budget showed a surplus, with money to pay for the new employees. But city finance workers said they were unsure if the budget would handle the new workers after five years.
"They knew more than she did, and she's been running EMS for 30 years," Walker said. "If she thinks she can make the budget, they need to let her go ahead and hire people," Walker said.
Walker believes a millage tax can be raised to five percent over the next few years to help fund the workers.
"It seemed irresponsible for them to say 'We know you need these people, and we know you have the money, but we just don't want you to, because we're ultra-conservative,' " Walker said.
Porter did not return multiple phone calls from News 2. Mayor Kip Holden declined to answer our questions about the meeting he had with Porter about the positions, citing, "It was a private meeting."
If the city council gets involved, they will have until December 13 to make a decision on the positions.