June 27, 2012; Source: Gloucester County Times (NJ.com)

Officials in Gloucester Township, N.J. recently grew so concerned about a local nonprofit EMS ambulance service that they “deactivated” the organization’s ambulances and said they would sever the community’s relationship with the nonprofit. The Gloucester Township EMS Alliance has been decried by local officials for “numerous EMS code violations,” one of which is reportedly the use of five unregistered ambulances.

Mayor David Mayer, a Democrat, told the Gloucester County Times that his community “cannot allow this organization, which is staffed with many competent emergency medical professionals, to be managed by a board of directors in this fashion” and that “[D]ay-to-day management of this nonprofit organization is not only lacking but is in disarray.”

In a dramatic response to the mayor’s decision, Gloucester Township Republican Party Chairman Ray Polidoro said in a statement, “This is an outrage, a staggering abuse of power…When did the Constitution become obsolete and a police state take its place?” According to Sean McCullen with Gloucester Township Patch, “Republicans are now openly questioning whether Tuesday’s move was made to eventually clear the way for ambulance service in the township under the control of Cooper University Hospital, which is headed by South Jersey Democratic Party boss George Norcross,” and the head of the Gloucester Township EMS Alliance has offered to resign if that will help the Alliance retain its relationship with the community and save the jobs of the Alliance’s 45 employees.

The Alliance chief, Tom Eden Sr., told Patch that all of their ambulances have now been cleared by the state to return to service. From afar, it is not clear to us whether there are legitimate management problems at the Alliance, as the mayor contests, whether the mayor was looking for an excuse to rid the community of the Alliance, as some local Republicans reportedly contend, or perhaps a mixture of the two. We would like to hear from people in Gloucester Township as to what is going on here. –Mike Keefe-Feldman