Menter Ambulance Service slated to take over SOVAC in Oswego County

Opponents create social media campaign to reverse deal

CENTRAL SQUARE (WSYR-TV) - Some emergency crews called to help families in Southern Oswego County are about to answer to a new boss.

"Within the last month or so I was approached by the SOVAC Board of Directors and we were approached regarding a contract or an agreement to manage operations," explains Zachary Menter, CEO at the Menter Ambulance Service.

Eventually, Menter says his crew will take over entirely, dissolving SOVAC - the Southern Oswego Volunteer Ambulance Corps.

The SOVAC operation is on the edge of Menter's map, serving areas like Central Square, Hastings, West Monroe and Caughdenoy with a mix of paid and volunteer members.

When workers learned about the change, a Facebook page called "Save SOVAC" was created, trying to stop the deal.

Part of the post states:

Why is this important to the public? Many of the employees and volunteers (EMTs, Paramedics, and Critical Care Techs) are from the local area. They are your brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, mothers, and fathers. They grew up around here. They know most of their patients. They CARE about their patients. They CARE about their community. With Menter Ambulance taking over, they can bring any of their personnel into the SOVAC corps room. Although they are fine EMS personnel in their own right, they are not invested in this community like the current employees and volunteers are.

The page's administrator also suggests many workers are afraid of losing their jobs.

"My goal is to have the majority of those employees become employees of Menter Ambulance Service and come work for us," Menter says. "The residents of that community are not going to see any change. They are going to call 911. They are still going to get an ambulance. They are still going to get it in the same time frame."

Menter says his service is the biggest in Oswego County with about 10,000 calls a year. Once SOVAC is absorbed, he says they'll add another 1,800 calls.

"Being the size resource that we are, we might actually be able to at times move up resources and maybe at times give it a little more coverage at those busy times," Menter adds.

Save SOVAC also suggests "the volunteer program will be halted" eventually.

Menter says qualified members may be offered part-time or per diem work.

While the agreement with the SOVAC Board of Directors puts Menter in control of management initially, he says it will likely take several months to completely transfer control of the operation.

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