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Plan to cut Pinellas paramedic, move another back on table

A proposal to eliminate one paramedic position and move another from a Lealman fire station to Kenneth City is back on the table just three weeks after county commissioners voted not to make the move.

John Morroni sent fellow Pinellas County commissioners a memo Thursday saying he intends to raise the issue at Tuesday's commission meeting. Commissioners also will give preliminary consideration to the general and emergency medical services budgets for the 2010-11 fiscal year.

The proposal to cut one paramedic position from Fire Station 19, 6994 46th Ave. N, and move another from there to Fire Station 16, a mile away in Kenneth City at 4600 58th St. N, was seen by county staff members as a cost-saving move. Staff members estimated the change would save taxpayers $451,000 with no loss of service.

But Lealman objected, saying it would hurt service in the western part of the fire district. The commission voted 4-3 to leave the staffing at Station 19 as it is.

Since then, Pinellas Park, which runs Station 16, has lobbied commissioners, showing them a different set of facts than Lealman's.

Morroni said he listened to Pinellas Park's presentation and found the city had facts he had not heard before. And, he said, commissioners have received calls from Seminole and an e-mail from Kenneth City Mayor Teresa Zemaitis asking them to reconsider the vote.

"It's a fairness issue," Morroni said.

Morroni, who voted against the move, said putting the proposal back on the table might not change anyone's mind, including his own.

"I'm not sure where I'm going," he said. "I'm not sure if I'm going to switch or what."

Reach Anne Lindberg at alindberg@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8450.

Plan to cut Pinellas paramedic, move another back on table 09/04/10 [Last modified: Friday, September 3, 2010 4:59pm]
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