Budget crisis could lead to ambulance assignment shuffle

Budget crisis could lead to ambulance assignment shuffle

(WMC-TV) - The City of Memphis' budget crisis means changes are coming to ambulance services. An internal memo sent to the fire department's top brass revealed what can be expected if you need an ambulance.

The email, which was sent out July 12, lays out a shuffle in assignments. It is being called a "reduction strategy".

"We have nothing definite yet, so it would be speculation for me to say what is going to happen," said Memphis Mayor A C Wharton.

But the internal Memphis Fire Department memo reveals three lieutenants are scheduled to be reassigned starting August 1, which will result in one less lieutenant in the field.

Even with the recent tax hike, the city is under the gun, trying to balance losses from lower property values.

"Each director, particularly in public safety, is doing everything he can," said Mayor Wharton.

According to the memo, one lieutenant will become an EMS training instructor and the other two will move to administrative positions. All three jobs are positions currently unfilled.

"There was a strong feeling from the council. Don't lay anybody off," added the mayor.

But will it cause a lag in ambulance response time?

"That's one of the things we're going to have to look at," said Wharton.

The Memphis City Council is still reviewing the budget's impact on public safety, so plans could always change.

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