Pawtucket Times: Pawtucket, Central Falls to share emergency services

Grebien: 'Partnership will increase public safety for the residents of our communities'

by Russ Olivo

Pawtucket- It's not unusual to hear civic leaders talk about merging services services across city and town borders to save tax payers money, but Pawtucket and Central Falls are actually doing something about it.

The neighboring cities announced Monday they've signed a memorandum of understanding to unify their emergency management agencies for a trial period of two years.

Under the MOU, the two communities would establish a cost-sharing, pilot program and the consolidated agencies would be responsible for maintaining day-to-day operations, disaster planning and managing emergency operations from one central operations center during a local or statewide emergency.

"This partnership between Pawtucket and Central Falls will increase public safety for the residents of our communities by improving response time, training and services," said Mayor Donald R. Grebien. "Additionally both of our savings and efficiency by merging the two agencies together."

Grebien said the partnership allows Pawtucket and Central Falls to deliver services at a higher level of quality neither could achieve on its own for "a fraction of the cost."

Central Falls Mayor James Diossa said the EMS consolidation isn't the first partnership of its kind for the Blackstone Valley neighbors.

"Central Falls and Pawtucket have already achieved cost savings by consolidating our housing inspection department through a trial agreement," Diossa said. "Our communities are leading the way on this front to the benefit of the taxpayers of our respective cities."

Diossa praised Grebien as "a great collaborator" on ideas for cost-sharing initiatives like the EMS consolidation.

Pawtucket Emergency management Director Norm Menard and Central Falls EMS Director Robert Bradley, the city's fire chief, ironed out the details of the merger over a period of 18 months, the mayors said in a joint statement.


Originally published in the Pawtucket Times July 21, 2015

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