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South County EMS

South County EMS workers to get Deerfield benefits

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Employees of the new South County Emergency Medical Service will become employees of the town of Deerfield.

Deerfield is the fiscal agent of the regional 24/7 paramedic ambulance service. Once the service starts, Deerfield will handle the receipts and disbursements associated with the operation of the EMS, which is expected to grow to eight full-time employees.

The towns of Deerfield, Sunderland and Whately are in the process of bringing to life Franklin County’s first municipal-based regional paramedic service.

To pay for the service, each year individual town assessments will be divided into four equal installments for billing, according to the inter-municipal agreement. Deerfield would bill the two other towns their quarterly assessments on July 1, Oct. 1, Jan. 1 and April 1 of each year.

The to-be-hired employees will receive Deerfield benefits rather than Sunderland’s or Whately’s.

For health insurance, each town participates in the Hampshire County Group Insurance Trust, which is run by the Hampshire Council of Governments.

Each town can choose what percentage it pays into health insurance for its employees.

Currently, Deerfield pays 65 percent. Whately pays 70 percent and Sunderland pays 55 percent.

Though the three towns have different rates right now, the new South County EMS employees won’t bring much change to the system.

There are three full-time Deerfield EMTs currently who would have the same benefits if hired under the regional EMS.

There is one full-time Sunderland EMT, who also works as a firefighter.

And Whately EMTs are currently volunteer and do not receive any benefits from the town.

For retirement, the towns use the same benefits. All municipal employees fall under the Franklin Regional Retirement System. State law requires that all public employees pay into the public employment system, which differs for teachers, police and government workers.

The towns have not hired any employees for the South County EMS yet. The transition team for the EMS is working on a job description for the EMS director, who would hire his or her staff.

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at: kmckiernan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261 ext. 268.

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