The City Council Finance and Personnel Committee and City Council approved a controversial request involving ambulance service at meetings Monday night.
The committee’s aldermen voted unanimously to let city staff develop a request for proposals from the private sector for citywide ambulance response. The Rockford Fire Department provides the service, but city leaders have been discussing the possibility of outsourcing the function for the past year.
City Legal Director Patrick Hayes told aldermen that just the development of the request for proposals for ambulance service would take up a considerable amount of staff time. Hayes said he didn’t want that time wasted, which is why he wanted aldermen to discuss their wishes and take a vote on whether they want to proceed with an RFP.
The committee also voted to seek bids for street sweeping operations. Both street sweeping and ambulance service were potential outsourcing recommendations from the city’s consultant, Baker Tilly, and the city’s Budget and Finance Advisory Committee.
There was no discussion on street sweeping, but Ald. Bill Robertson, I-14, questioned the city’s rationale for seeking bids for emergency medical services when it has a labor contract with the Rockford Fire Department.
Hayes said the city wishes to know if there’s an economic case for outsourcing ambulance service. The bids could be used to help come to that conclusion.
The City Council approved the resolutions to seek bids with a voice vote.