Ambulance agency wants answer from supervisors

An ambulance regulating agency, abruptly jilted six months ago by Stanislaus County leaders, will ask why in a joint meeting Monday.

County supervisors in December voted to leave a five-county partnership in 18 months if the county could find better partners or set up its own agency. Stanislaus pays far more than its four smaller partners -- Calaveras, Mariposa, Alpine and Amador -- but enjoys no more control over the Mountain-Valley Emergency Medical Services Agency.

Stanislaus Supervisor Jim DeMartini in particular complained at unfairly "paying the freight."

Officials with the smaller counties reacted with surprise in Bee interviews at the time. In a letter dated April 27, Mountain-Valley chairman Louis Boitano, an Amador County supervisor, asked for an official confrontation.

"There may be some issues that may have preceded this decision of which the Mountain-Valley Board of Directors is not aware," Boitano wrote. He noted that the withdrawal of Stanislaus, which contributes as much as $750,000 of the agency's $1.2 million budget, would "have significant impact on the remaining counties."

Mountain-Valley executive director Steve Andriese said, "If there are performance issues, our board would like to know what they are. If (Stanislaus) is just of the size that they want to do it on their own, that's a different story."

Stanislaus leaders agreed and issued a public notice, allowing supervisors from all five counties to attend if they wish.

The joint board meeting is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Monday in the basement training room at Tenth Street Place, 1010 10th St., Modesto.

Bee staff writer Garth Stapley can be reached at or 578-2390.