City Government

Boise Ambulance Deal Full Of Holes

Bids will be opened at 1:30 Wednesday for a new Boise Fire Department ambulance, but even at this late date it is not a “done deal.”

The City is rushing to get an ambulance transport license from the State of Idaho in advance of anticipated new administrative rules that would require officials to consider the following:

–PATIENT OUTCOME (better care)

Despite the fact Boise will open bids they requested for a new truck cab and chassis for a used ambulance body, Dave Bieter sent a letter to a citizen saying, “Neither the City Council nor the Mayor has authorized emergency transport services by the Boise Fire Department at this time.”

That is very true. The city has no authority to run an ambulance “at this time” because they don’t have any ambulances or the required license. The letter went on to say the action was an effort to preserve the city’s “right to provide emergency transport. Team Dave didn’t tell the citizen they had already sought bids for an ambulance–apparently one they don’t plan to use other than to “preserve their rights.” Why the bids if they don’t plan to go into business?

In fact, the terms of their bid financing are probably illegal and violate the Idaho Constitution. They seek a multi-year “lease-purchase” which the Supreme Court has previously ruled as unconstitutional.

To prevent having a large purchase (ambulance) show up in the budget, it looks like they are going for monthly payments to keep it from the scrutiny of voters, or perhaps the council.

So far in this fiasco, which the Daily Paper and most other news outlets have failed to publish or air, we have emergency doctors opposing a Boise City ambulance, reps from two hospitals have met with the County Commishes voicing disapproval, bids for an ambulance with questionable financing will be opened Wednesday, and this is all just to “preserve the right” for ambulance service in a city that already has a taxpayer supported ambulance service provided by Ada County EMS.

UPDATE–The Boise Weekly has a story in the current issue referring to the GUARDIAN story.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. BG…could you please just make a few clarificartions for me.

    1. In some of the posts from your previous articles, people have written that Boise Fire Department’s ambulance license had already been approved….in your above article, you write they do not have it yet….so…do they have one or not yet?

    2. What does Financial Issues mean as far as a license criteria? One government agency can do it for less money than another? If that is the case, and a person pays less property tax to EMS services than Fire Services…the Finacial issue has already been answered…right?

    EDITOR NOTE–#1 BFD does NOT have a license. There is an application pending and to get a license they have to have an ambulance, hence the bidding process. Silly to have an expensive ambulance and NOT use it.

    #2 My term for “financial issues” rather than use “cheaper.” Admin rules are apparently not yet totally in place. Here is the pertinent section of the actual law Idaho Code 56-1016 regarding application for transport license.

    Applicants must submit the following information with their applications and agree to meet the following requirements as a condition of licensure:
    (a) A declaration of anticipated applicant agency costs and revenues; a statement of projected changes in response time; and a narrative describing projected clinical benefits to patients resulting from licensure using methods defined in board rules concerning such matters on an application provided by the EMS bureau; and
    (b) Collect and report data to the EMS bureau upon receiving a license using a data collection system that is validated as compliant by the national emergency medical services information system technical assistance center in accordance with board rules.

  2. Tired of FD Politics
    Aug 18, 2009, 8:05 pm

    BG—if you want some interesting information, look at and scroll to employee salaries then Boise City [Fire Department]. Look at the pay differences between County and City. It’s interesting that their [Fire Department] lowest paid person is making over 20 an hour and their battalion chiefs make nearly 40-50 an hour. This is not even including their extra incentive pay for numerous different items, including working at the airport, being a “medic” and having a degree.

    How is that it is cheaper to run a service when Ada County’s most expensive employees [with over 20 years experience] make only 28 an hour? Heck, the Fire Chief makes more than our local politicians. Just some food for thought.

  3. BG…thanks for the clarifications….Your posts have been interesting to say the least…

  4. Any hint from the mayor as to why he feels that answering the three elements you listed from Idaho Code would hinder the city? They want to preserve their right to run an ambulance even if it costs more, is slower and has no increased clinical benefits?
    When is the next election?

  5. I guess these Jamokes will never learn!!!

  6. Where they gettn’ all the money to piss away on something we don’t need?.. why not spend it on what we do need?

  7. Lucas Baumbach
    Aug 18, 2009, 10:43 pm

    It seems like we need to make this an order of business at every City Council meeting. I would like a weekly update on how the City plans to ramrod their maniacal plans through a process that is not meant to deny licenses. If they want the transport license, they’ll get one. They don’t want debate about quality and cost. We should give it to them anyway. Let’s get Bieter to swear that he will never tolerate a Fire Department in the ambulance business. I noticed at the reading tonight that team Dave had another reading of the new City Code on the office of the Fire Chief. Does anyone have a copy of all the recent revisions to the code?

  8. Lease purchase? Isn’t that what Valley Regional Transit is using to purchase the buses that operate in the Nampa – Caldwell area? If it works there, it should work here. Right?

  9. Mr. Watcher
    Aug 19, 2009, 7:25 am

    Fact: There is no such thing as partial pregnancy.

    Which in the sad and raw truth in Boise Idaho is: These elected types will get away with this. These people do not work for us but for themselves using us as fools and suckers to cheat us out of whatever money they can steal in whatever scams they feel they can get away with. They know that the other tax feed government types will allow this to happen no matter how illegal it may be. These people stick together and see the world as: Us vs Them. With us decent hard working productive citizens being, “Them”.
    Vote them out or be stuck with the government you deserve. That’s my personal view on this whole matter.

  10. Mr. Watcher
    Aug 19, 2009, 7:38 am

    [Fire Department] lowest paid person is making over 20 an hour and their battalion chiefs make nearly 40-50 an hour. This is not even including their extra incentive pay for numerous different items, including working at the airport, being a “medic” and having a degree.


    Oh those poor public servants who are so underpaid and only care about public service. The money many of the folks make in tax feed jobs is more than a crime its a sin. So the bleeding of decent folks will keep flowing to feed folks who are totally unable to earn the money they make in their tax feed jobs in the private sector doing productive work.

    Yes, Joe and Sally Private Citizen is now a servant to government to be used and abuse by government in whatever self serving ways the tax feed in government deem suitable for their personal needs and greed. You can’t make this stuff up.

  11. Casual Observer
    Aug 19, 2009, 4:11 pm

    This whole thing is a total waste of space. All the players, city, county, fire, emt are all bent out of shape because their personal territories are being disrespected.

    For average citizens, even if the city’s action doubles the cost of a ambulance service for people in the city, which it won’t, we are talking less than $1 per month for most home owners. What’s that, 3 latte’s per year?

    With that, I have now wasted more time than the subject is worth.

  12. Casual, that is exactly the reason we are in this situation to begin with. “3 latte’s per year” Unless it is your ox being gored, it’s no big deal. I will just kind of sit back and wait for an emotional stand taken by you on an issue that you are passionate about, and then ask you, “how many latte’s is that?”

  13. Cyclops, you are exactly right. Unfortunately here in he US, the public has long accepted the fire service and law enforcement as essential services and funded them accordingly.

    Unfortunately because EMS began as simply a horizontal taxi ride in the funeral industry, and people paid to use it (fee for service as opposed to tax funded service), and because of HUMAN NATURE (Denial), no body gives EMS the attention it needs in terms of funding, (and also in training, oversight, safety, and other areas too).

    Now, Im not saying that we should be 100% tax based, although that would be nice, it does present a lot of misconceptions and often hard feelings in the public when they receive a bill, or try to understand the difference between the fire service and EMS functions.

    So, what we have here is an issue that effects everyone one us living in Ada County, not just Boise City.

    And people like Casual are simply simplifying the issue to “turf Wars”, with out realizing the larger implications of disrupting the system.

    Of course casual has already trivialized the loss of ACP jobs, the impact on the families, and the work ACP does in previous posts…and hasn’t addressed, or has trivialized, the impact on medical care either…Apparently to him it is indeed just three cups of coffee.

    I’m glad I dont have him setting the budget of my department, we would do no training, have no equipment, and wheels falling off the rigs if CO ran the show. Because its obvious the real issues are lost on him. Unfortunately.

  14. Casual Observer
    Aug 19, 2009, 9:35 pm

    Sorry Cy, I am not buying in. You on the White team can shout your insults at the Red Team, and passing observers, as loud as you want. And the members of the Red team can shout back. You can even use ALL CAPS and BOLD TYPE if you want. That will be really exciting. It might even CONVINCE the timid.

    However, the fact remains, that of the several dozen posts on this subject, the hyperbole, even from the docs, is still GLARINGLY DEVOID OF FACTS (Wow. These caps are really fun.) as to whether costs, and / or quality of service, will go up, down, or stay the same.

    So, before you denigrate someone for not, caring, give them something more than VOLUME (whee!) for a reason.

  15. If fire department is lacking for work to the point that they are wanting to take lesser jobs from others… and fluff them into expensive FD jobs… The same jobs which were not good enough for them just a few years ago when growth was crazy… Maybe the fire department is over staffed??

    Yep, FD costs more then ADA EMS… see it online in the posted public info just released. Man they got some cool fire trucks in the big cities, but they have at least 5 times the taxes… Always easier to spend other peoples money is the govenments moto

  16. Nemo, personal attacks on those who disagree with you really doesn’t help your cause here, its pretty arrogant and disgusting in fact. You’re being more the problem than the solution. Casual Observer’s comments were his/her opinion opinion. He/She might be just one voise but it might be that one voice of a taxpayer, one that helps pay your salary, that the politicians might listen to.

    My Husband and I have been working on a presentation for the county commissioners to use in defense of ACEMS but that won’t be necessary now since ACEMS employees apparently don’t want opinions from local taxpayers.

  17. watching too
    Aug 20, 2009, 12:11 am

    I stumbled upon this kinda late. I have to laugh about “public servants” fighting over turf. We should privatize it all. Obviously the EMS people on here are fighting for their bloated pay structures and the fire guys are looking to secure more union friendly positions. I did a little research, and unforturnately fire does not seem to be a money-making venture for private companies. Most of the privates have gone bankrupt. However, there does seem to be profit in responding to the sick and injured. I would never support a duplication of service, but I would support a privatization of EMS. Why is this not discussed more on these posts? I’m sure that a good EMS employee would be able to secure a position with a private. You may not get paid as much as fire right now, but I believe the market should set the rate for your salaries. What say you Discoboy and Nemo? Why should we taxpayers not push for a private company to come in here and take this whole mess over? My buddy lives in a community in Oregon which is served by Rural Metro and he says nobody has ever complained about the excesive death rate from the private company. Bottom line is that both the EMS people and Fire are getting fat salaries and better than average benefits. Why shouldn’t we go private with EMS to start?…by the way, I did check out the salaries of both. It seems fire make between $21/hr and $27/hr. EMS is making between $16 and $30/hr. Too much salary for either group. So stop with the whining about one making more than the other. Both of you leaches are making too much!

  18. Lisa, I apologize if I came off a little too harsh. But remember I am a tax payer too, so….but in the end , on reviewing my post, it doesn’t seem “personal”, simply outlining the fact that CO is indeed trivializing the loss of jobs. Thats not personal…. its what his post said and did do.

    Saying that I am a lazy government servant with a bloated salary is however, very personal, but I guess thats OK. I would say more but that is off topic.

    So, to be fair, Lisa, BG, and CO, I apologize.

    CO: WHat would you like to see? A comparison of tax dollar speant per run? Easy enough, I think someone did it already in one of the numerous posts here on the BG.

    Response time analysis…think that was done as well.

    Patient care issues..if you read back over posts , you will see several links I and others have posted that link directly to research on patient care with certain types of changes, and other articles discussing patient care issues in certain models and types of deployments…the same types of models, systems , and departments that BFD wants to imitate.

    If you have questions on those, or specific questions that don’t end with…”You guys should lose your jobs”… I or others would be happy to answer it for you, objectively and thoroughly to the best of our ability.

  19. Watching too… we will approach this problem like we do all problems. We will putter around the edges, tweak the existing system, maybe take a couple baby steps in one direction or another. But we won’t come up with meaningful change, regardless of how much sense it makes. It’s just the way it works. Too much vested interest in the status quo.

  20. Casual Observer
    Aug 20, 2009, 7:15 am

    Hey Nemo, you might try telling me that my mother wears ARMY boots. That was a very popular taunt in the 3rd grade. Maybe then I wouldn’t notice your continued failure to produce any facts.

    Go Red Team, Go White Team,
    Stomp your feet
    Let out a scream.

    (Is there an RSS feed that sends an alert if someone presents facts? There would sure be a demand for that service.)

  21. Mr. Watcher
    Aug 20, 2009, 7:57 am

    I think many of you folks are losing track of the point of this topic. The city (aka: slick lawyer Dave and company) seemingly is trying to go around the legal way by the State’s Constitution to do what they way to do. All of this is going on when we have the county running this service and there is no problem with the way the county is doing it. There is simply no reason to allow this to move forward because it doesn’t serve the citizens who foot the bill. In fact we could very well end up with a substandard service if the city takes over for the county.

    What we have is a a group of folks that are side stepping the laws of this state to do whatever they please. With zero benefit for the people they say they are in public service to serve. This is another clear and clean cut case that displays how government parasites are serving themselves without any concern for the taxpaying citizens.

    I don’t care if this is three sticks of bubble gum a year in personal cost. Its my money and I have every right to keep it. And most of all I have every right to expect people in government not play foot lose and fancy free with the laws. This is the same city that has its police giving people speeding tickets for going a few miles an hour over the limit. Meaning we the citizens are held to the letter of the laws while the parasites get a pass to do as they please. Take note folks the deck is stacked against you and its only going to get worse if you do not put your foot down and demand and end to these kinds of games that are by design, to cheat you out of your hard earned money.

    Cyclops: if you don’t mind being swindled out of the price of 3 lattes per year. My question to you is would you pay extra with your property taxes in a “tax me more” fund on your own free will?

  22. Casual, don’t mis-interpret my position. I am no fan of ACEMS. My stand goes back many years when they tried, and continue to,make John Fogg’s life miserable when he started ADA-BOI.ACEMS started as an “on scene, stabilization service” with transport by private ambulance. Then they wanted the transport as well, and have been “empire growing” ever since.
    Currently, it appears that the City is trying to do to ACEMS what ACEMS did to ADA-BOI 25 years ago. It was wrong then and it is wrong today.
    This is clearly an effort by the City of Boise to try and put ACEMS out of business, because once Boise goes, so will all the other cities in the valley. If the purpose was to return to an era of “on scene life support and stabilization” by the BFD and then private transport I could get behind that. (Just as soon as Dave Bieter is no longer mayor)

  23. Casual Observer
    Aug 20, 2009, 8:18 am


    What I want to see is a concrete list of reasons why the Red Team cannot do the White Team’s job just as well.

    If the Red Team buys all the White Team’s trucks, paints over the logos, and hires all the White Team’s staff, where is the difference?

    How does the patient suffer?

    Where is the lack of cohesion?

    Where is there a loss of jobs? (Okay, you might have me there. Sounds like you may have burnt some bridges with the Red Team.)

    Why should the public care?

  24. Casual Observer
    Aug 20, 2009, 8:48 am


    This may come as a shock, but I agree with you, and anyone else, who thinks the underlying motives in this power play are cheap, tawdry, underhanded, and on and on.

    Your distaste for the mayor is well documented. I have a similar distaste for the Commissioners, who, in my opinion, comprise a full half of this problem.

    That said, as a tax payer, I cannot see the difference between a broken leg riding in a Red Truck and a broken leg riding in a White Truck.

  25. Tired of Taxes
    Aug 20, 2009, 9:36 am

    Ada County has declined to add the %3 property tax increase for several years, Boise City has again taken the full %3 and will increase your taxes. Who is more responsible with your money? Boise City can afford to buy ambulances, trolleys, trains and higher salaries because they are spending YOUR money. In these tough economic times when others are cutting back, Boise City is spending more.
    I do not know why this has to be about turf. Just give me the best bang for my BUCK while making sure my medical needs are met. Until BFD can give facts how they can improve in these areas…stay OUT.

  26. Tired of FD Politics, YOU ARE WRONG. A first year FF makes 15.09 and hr. A BFD Battalion Chief gets paid 27.04 an hour, not the 40-50 and hr YOU claim. In fact, a 10 yr Boise City Patrol Officer makes more, ($29.85 an hr) than a 20 yr BFD Battalion Chief.

    And where did I get this info…from the same website that you listed.

    With this much mis inforamtion, it just reaffirms my distrust in the BG.

    EDITOR NOTE– Hey Mr. Wrong, the BG specifically offered a disclaimer that we did NOT provide the wage figures and they came from a reader. We offer the forum to everyone–you included. We will stand behind EVERYTHING we post and challenge you to show us a factual error in OUR reporting. If we report it, we have it nailed in advance.

  27. The bottom line as I see it– Any changes made in the present system need to be discussed openly by all concerned parties in open hearings and then any changes voted on by taxpayers involved.There also needs to be cost and quality assessments done by independent experts in all fields involved. Not done behind our backs in the dark of the night!

  28. watching too
    Aug 20, 2009, 10:27 am

    Nemo, maybe I went too far with the bloated salary comment. I did not suggest you were lazy. However, you have not answered why privatization would not work. Duplication is wrong, but the free market has proven that it can perform your function at a lower cost. I imagine you will come back at me with some sort of statistics you have been gathering for years, but I am sure if I were in tune to this suject I could produce stats that would paint private EMS service in a good light too. Bottom-line it for me. Why wouldn’t you work for a private service? The market will bear out your true salary. If we the tax-paying consumer demand your level of skill and experience, you will be paid exactly what you make right now.

  29. BG – I am more concerned with the possible violoation of Idaho State Constitution….do you happen to know the specific case law where the Idaho Supreme Court ruled “lease-purchase” unconstitutional?

    Lisa….You have always responded with well thought out information to all of my questions. You seem to have a lot of experience with both the workings of Fire Departments, Emergency Agencies, and the Federal Government (ie NIMS…something you mentioned in one of your posts to me….lol). Please do not take anything to heart when people respond to your posts….there just appears to be a lot of emotion on the subject….Also, can you comment on BG’s supreme court comment…do you as well agree it is unconstitutional….

    can anyone else comment on this issue who may have information….

    Thank You

    EDITOR NOTE–Without going into too much detail, the law actually has my name on it: “FRAZIER DECISION.” Article VIII, sec. 3 of the constitution says no long term debt without a 2/3 assent of the voters. A purchase is a purchase is a purchase regardless of what you call it. You own it at the end you BOUGHT IT! You can GOOGLE “FRAZIER DECISION IDAHO” in quotes and learn more than you ever wanted to know.

  30. Watching:

    The issues with private services are they are private and looking to make a profit. It’s really that simple. What it equates to is usually lower standards of equipment, lower salaries, higher staff turnover, a lesser standard of care (due to the previous factors and a lack of trust between physicians and paramedics). All privates are not bad, there are some good examples. The best service in the country however is an ALS 3rd service, which is the model ACP was originally formed on (It is fairly different now then at start up). As I have said publicly and privately to FF and Paramedics alike, I would be in favor of a public safety division / metro system and many FF and paramedics have agreed with that. If there is any voting to be done, the citizens should start a grass roots movement to initiate this… it can be done and should be. That is where the cost savings to the taxpayers lie. ACP might be “Heavy” on upper admin, but that’s one department, not five. I believe though that the present way of trying to slide in an ambulance to replace an existing ambulance, is nothing but smoke and mirrors to try and beat the changes underway by the State EMS bureau and nothing more. There is no justification and it’s sad we (all of us) have to fight this battle, whatever our personal motivations may be. City / County government should be more inclusive and open about what they are doing / planning to do and communicate this with the public.

  31. Nemo. Read my last comments in the preveous article abot EMS in Ada County. Discoboy made some pretty severe comments about BFD Paramedics patient care. Now IF those accusations have merit and any Ada Couty Paramedic witnessed them and didn’t report it to state ems then YOUR arguments about who provide the best patient care goes out the window. Isn’t some of this debate about Quality Patient Care?.

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